Updated 11:37 AM EST, Fri February 4, 2022
Much of the world's attention was on the Beijing National Stadium on Friday as the venue hosted the opening ceremony for the 2022 Winter Olympics.
The stadium, commonly referred to as the Bird's Nest because of its design, also hosted the opening ceremony for the 2008 Summer Olympics. Beijing is the first city in history to host both a Summer and a Winter Olympics.
Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the ceremony, and he was joined by many international dignitaries. But notably absent were leaders of major democratic powers, as Great Britain, Australia and Canada are among those to join a US-led diplomatic boycott of these Games, citing Beijing's human-rights record.
This is the second Olympics to be held during the coronavirus pandemic. As with last year's Summer Olympics in Tokyo, a raft of Covid-19 countermeasures have been put in place and the Games will be held inside what authorities have called a "closed loop system" — a bubble completely cut off from the rest of the city. Tickets for the Games will not be sold to the general public; they will be distributed by authorities instead.