Together for a Shared Future

“Together for a Shared Future,” the official motto of Beijing 2022, is a perfect marriage of Eastern cultural wisdom and universal human values.
by Sun Weijia
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The author is director-general of the Department of International Exchanges and Cooperation of the Counsellors’ Office of the State Council of China. courtesy of the author

The Chinese Olympic dream already found its way to print more than a century ago in the form of three questions: When would Chinese athletes debut in the Olympics? When would Chinese athletes win an Olympic medal? When would China host the Olympic Games? The century-old dream eventually came true when China presented the “truly exceptional” Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008.

Now, the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics lifted the curtain in China. Yet China’s pursuit this time has been beyond a “wonderful and brilliant” or even “truly exceptional” Olympic Games. Beijing is pondering what kind of a lasting spiritual legacy China will contribute to the International Olympic Movement. As the world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, how will Beijing 2022 enrich the values ​​of the International Olympic Movement, hence fulfilling its mission of fostering international solidarity and peace and promoting the development of healthier and fairer global governance? This is a brand-new Olympic question that awaits the answer from Beijing 2022.

Each Olympic Games represents an opportunity for the host to present a grand vision of its national image to an attentive international community for several weeks straight. Fourteen years ago, Beijing 2008 was billed as “One World, One Dream” and delivered a vivid interpretation of “an open China embracing the world” and “a diverse world welcoming China.” Beijing 2008 epitomized China’s successful integration into the world with its widely recognized concepts and visions for human development and contributed greatly to a sound international environment that has aided China’s rapid development and sustained opening up in the subsequent 10-plus years.

The Olympic vision reflects the times. The new era today is completely different from 14 years ago and features a more complex international situation full of challenges. The once-in-a-century pandemic and unprecedented global changes have intertwined, profoundly changing the world. The world has been caught in the most serious public health crisis and economic recession since the 1930s, globalization is facing headwinds, unilateralism is rampant, the international community is splintering, international contradictions are escalating, and the global governance system is facing unprecedented challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has exerted a profound impact on the International Olympic Movement as it is raging worldwide. For the first time in its modern history, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) made the tough decision to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, upsetting the Olympic Movement.

After deliberations, the IOC approved a change in the Olympic motto on July 20, 2021 at its 138th session in Tokyo, Japan, adding the word “Together” to “Faster, Higher, Stronger.” The new Olympic motto now reads: “Faster, Higher, Stronger―Together.” That is by far the most significant adjustment and enrichment of the Olympic concepts and values made by the IOC. “Faster, Higher, Stronger” expresses human sporting values while “Together” points to broader spiritual values ​​in human society. The addition reflects the IOC’s strong desire to improve global governance via Olympic values. The rich connotations of “Together” include promoting the improvement of global governance and building a healthier and more peaceful, diverse, inclusive and united world. The IOC advocates global solidarity over political confrontation, consultation and cooperation over isolationism, diversity and inclusiveness over xenophobia, and depoliticization over global governance demarcated by ideology.

Recognizing and supporting the Olympic spirit and values ​​is the basic obligation and responsibility of the host city and the country at large. China has been practicing and actively promoting the Olympic values by advocating a vision of global governance featuring “extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits” and the concept of “a community with a shared future for humanity,” which are consistent with the concepts and values ​​of the International Olympic Movement.

Drawing on the internal similarities between the Olympic values ​​and China’s global governance, the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee revealed “Together for a Shared Future” as the official motto of the Games and an embodiment of the in-built vision to host a successful event and promote the development of the International Olympic Movement. The motto is a perfect marriage of Eastern cultural wisdom and universal human values. It’s an extension of the Olympic values exemplified by “Peace, Unity, Respect, and Cooperation,” and support for a vision of global governance featuring “extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits.” It is the optimal interpretation of the vision of Beijing 2022 and valuable enrichment of the Olympic values.