How-to China: American musician confident in Beijing 2022 | Updated: 2022-02-10 08:44
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Editor's Note: The eyes of the world are turning to China. In this ongoing series How-to China, we tell stories about how Chinese approaches promote understanding, solve problems and improve the lives of people around the globe.

With the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games in full swing, Mark Levine, an American musician who has been living in Beijing for years, shared his views on winter sports and the Games' positive influence on the host city. 

Here are some excerpts from our interview.

Q: What are your experiences with winter sports?

Mark Levine: I grew up in Los Angeles and we don't have winter sports there. And when I was growing up, my parents were working all the time. 

I have friends whose parents took them skiing. But my parents tended to be too busy for things like that. 

Q: Are you watching the Winter Olympics?

Mark Levine: Probably I'll watch the hockey match and maybe speed skating and other things. I'll see what I can have access to on TV.

Mark Levine plays guitar at the Shenzhen campus of Tsinghua University in 2015. [Photo provided to]

Q: Have you seen improvements in facilities since Beijing last hosted the Olympics?

Mark Levine: In 2008, just before the Olympics, part of line 10 of the subway system opened. And then right after the Olympics, line 4 opened up.

A whole bunch of new lines opened up and this was directly connected to the fact we have to improve things for the Olympics to make them happen.

In some places where the Olympics are held, there are some stadiums built and have no use after that, but we still have the Bird's Nest. There are all kinds of events that happen there at the Ice Cube.

These things are continuing to be used. But there were a lot of renovations and improvements on them. You have subway stations and other facilities being built that are gonna continue to be there, continue to add to the convenience and comfort of people who are either living here or visiting here.

I think this is a really impressive thing, that it is not just for one time.

Mark Levine plays guitar on the Great Wall in 2012. [Photo provided to]

Q: What do you think of China's preparations for the Games?

Mark Levine: I'm sure it's gonna be a very successful activity despite the fact lots of people won't be able to come because of COVID-19.

But the reason I'm that confident is not necessarily anything I know about the Olympics, but how I've seen China deal with situations.

Because when the Olympics were first planned, when it was first awarded to China, nobody had any thought about COVID-19, but then you have to shift.

And China's ability to shift. OK, here is what our plan was. But here's what happened. Now, how are we going to continue to make sure that this is successful.

I'm sure things are going to have to be different because of COVID, but I'm also sure that China has the ability to make whatever adjustments that need to be made, because I've seen it happen.

Mark Levine. [Photo provided to]

About the interviewee

Mark Levine is an American folk singer and writer. He first came to China in 2005 as an English instructor in Huai'an in the eastern province of Jiangsu. Since 2008, he has been an English instructor at Minzu University of China. In 2014, he received China's Friendship Award, the country's highest honor for a foreigner.

Reporter: Zhang Wenfang

Video editor: Luo Xiangyi

Supervisor: Wang Jianfen and Ma Chi

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