In this issue, The Center invited Master Sakhi Sultan to conduct an exclusive interview on legal and policy issues related to the Beijing Winter Olympics under the epidemic situation. Sakhi Sultan holds a Master's degree from the International Islamic University of Islamabad. His research interests are in the areas of human rights law, family law, Islamic law and international law. His recent research includes "Gender Equality in family and Marriage in the International Perspective and The Pakistani Legal System: An Analytical Research Researcher Supervisor", "Gender Equality in Family and Marriage In the International Perspective and the Pakistani Legal System: An Analytical Study". The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, which will be held in Beijing and Zhangjiakou city in Hebei Province, is a big event for China. The Games are held during the winter heating season and heavy pollution days, making air quality difficult to guarantee.
How to take effective measures in public safety, road traffic, production safety and city appearance management according to the special location and industrial characteristics of Beijing and Tianjin surrounding Hebei province and the actual needs of Zhangjiakou Competition area? The global epidemic situation is grim and there are many uncertainties in epidemic prevention and control. How to enact extraordinary laws in extraordinary times? Will the degree of legal perfection affect public health safety before the National Games?
In response to these questions, the Center interviewed Master Sakhi Sultan, hoping to get his views on the laws and policies related to the Beijing Winter Olympics under the epidemic situation.
Beijing rules to protect environment and eliminate "heavy pollution"
The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, to be held in Beijing and Zhangjiakou city in Hebei Province, is a major event for China. The Winter Olympics will be held during the winter heating season and heavy pollution days, making it difficult to ensure air quality. According to the special location and industrial characteristics of Hebei surrounding Beijing and Tianjin and the actual needs of Zhangjiakou Competition area, it is necessary to take effective measures in public safety, road traffic, safety production, urban appearance management and other aspects. The global epidemic situation is grim, and there are more uncertainties in epidemic prevention and control. Some specific needs and special circumstances that cannot be covered by laws and regulations pose greater challenges to service guarantee, and it is urgent for legislation to provide protection. In extraordinary times, make extraordinary laws. Do you think the degree of legal perfection will affect public health safety before the national Games?
Public Health Safety Laws are made for protection of Public, at large. These Laws are also legislated, so that surroundings and environment of a particular locality can be ensured pure and healthy. Since, villages and rural areas already have healthy atmosphere and, peoples living there have simple and modest standard of living, so application of such Laws are of insignificant nature. These are urban areas, where enforcement of such Laws is of utmost importance. Our present Article will deal with aforementioned issue.
Cities have been termed as Centers of Excellence for its robust role in
industrialization and multiple business activities. In 2020, World Bank has affirmed that cities produce 80% of world’s GDP. Reasons behind this fact are that
(1) Goods and Services, which are produced in cities, are of excellent quality.
(2) There is free and open competition in cities.
(3) Standard of health and education facilities in cities is very good, as compared to rural areas.
(4) In cities, peoples are living prosperous lives, as compared to theirs rural counterparts.
After Second World War (1939-1945), economic prosperity increased, because of rapid urbanization/industrialization and this factor has led towards enlargement in population of cities. Till-to-date, 4.2 billion peoples live in cities and other urban areas, as compared to 750 million in 1950. Because of excellent commercial activities in cities, it is predicted that ratio of GDP will further increase in cities. May be, many cities will turn into trillion-dollar economic hubs.
Despite having aforementioned positive aspects of city/urban life, this life is posing grim challenges to world. For example, it is problematic for us to provide adequate food and electricity to cities. 78% of electricity generated and 80% of food produced in world is utilized in cities. While we should keep in mind this fact that 2% of world’s area is composed of cities. 70% of Green House Emissions (GHE) can also be witnessed in cities, which is a great challenge for all of us. Hence, cities are responsible for creating a lot of problems.
China, like rest of world, is facing same problems. She has controlled these problems with best of her abilities. For example, she has followed Spatially Hybrid Urbanization (SHU) model. Underlying idea behind this model is that rural areas should be changed into urban areas, without compromising on specific characteristics of rural areas. This can be done by giving excellent health, educational, recreational and other facilities in rural areas. This initiative will reduce migration of villagers to urban areas and hence, will reduce burden on crumbling economy of cities. China has ensured to comply with SHU model with help of 123 transportation networks. Initiative of Chinese Government in this respect is that health and educational facilities should be supplied at 30 minutes’
drive, job opportunities at 45 minutes’ drive, while parks and other entertainment facilities should be constructed at 60 minutes’ drive. Hence, we can say that China is contributing substantially to reduce rapid pace of urbanization, which is spreading in world and this is a welcome step.
China is contributing enormously for environmental protection, which can’t be mentioned for lack of time. But keeping in view these contributions, we can say that China has become a great champion of environmental protection.
In backdrop of aforementioned situation, Beijing Olympics are starting from 4th February-20th February, 2022. It is criticized for various reasons. One of such reasons is ecological problem, which is prevalent in Beijing. For example, Beijing doesn’t have enough snowfall in winter. This factor is not conducive for snow games of said Olympics. So, snow will be shifted in Beijing from other parts of country and this will have disastrous ecological impact in Beijing. These Olympics will also start in Songshan National Nature Reserve, which is located in vicinity of Beijing. Chinese Government is planning to cover said location with snow and this
is inviting criticism from International Community. Air in Beijing is also full of carbon, methane and sulfur. This situation will prove dangerous for lungs of athletes. China’s heavy industries are also highly dependent on coal and oil. This is contributing towards pollution in China, especially in Beijing. On other side, Chinese Government is combating all said issues to maximum extent. She has legislated sufficient Laws, in this regard. President Xi Jinping has declared environmental security his top priority. He has introduced Blue Sky Action Plan, which prescribes air quality targets for each district of Beijing and hence, combating pollution. 25 million houses, which were dependent on coal, have been substituted with gas or electricity. Many factories have been penalized for
polluting environment. Chinese Government has promised to eradicate heavy pollution in 2025.
I am highly satisfied with all these initiatives. Beijing is an ideal venue for Olympics. Chinese Government should expedite all said initiatives. She should not fear from International criticism. Because, we are all Human Beings and we all have weaknesses and limitations.
I am thankful to The News on Sunday, BBC and Bloomberg Green. They have helped me in writing this Article.
Interviewer: Xue Zhiyu
Interview date: November 12, 2021