(ECNS) -- The torchbearer selection for the Beijing Olympic Winter Games reflects that China's policy of vigorously developing winter sports and promoting people's health is benefiting all ethnic groups, and that China is a big family boasting ethnic unity, spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry Zhao Lijian said on Monday.
"We are glad to see athletes from all ethnic groups, including Dinigeer Yilamujiang, join the Chinese delegation for the Beijing Olympic Winter Games," Zhao made the remarks at a regular press conference in response to Yilamujiang, an athlete from Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, being selected as a torchbearer for the Winter Olympics.
According to the Olympic Charter, Yilamujiang has the right to participate in the games and all ceremonies as an Olympian for Beijing 2022, Zhao Lijian said, adding that there are clear criteria for selecting torchbearers for the games, which requires consideration of various factors including personal will, competition results, age, popularity and ethnicity, so as to fully reflect broad representation.
The Olympic flame passed through three generations of Chinese athletes at the opening ceremony, representing the continuation and inheritance of the Olympic spirit, said Zhao Lijian.
Yilamujiang is a young Uyghur athlete from a skiing family in Altay, Xinjiang. Guided by her father, a cross-country skiing athlete in the 1980s in Xinjiang, Yilamujiang received training at the age of 12 and began her professional skiing career. In 2017, she was selected as a member of China's national cross-country skiing training team. She made her Olympic debut on Saturday.