Paralympics President Rebukes Russia at Opening Ceremony

Paralympics President Rebukes Russia at Opening Ceremony

BEIJING — The president of the International Paralympic Committee denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during his speech at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Games on Friday, a notable act given that the International Olympic Committee in recent years reaffirmed its ban on protests and political messages.

With President Xi Jinping of China in attendance, the committee president, Andrew Parsons, said he was “horrified” by the invasion. “Tonight, I want to begin with a message of peace,” Mr. Parsons said.

Chinese social media users said that the state-run broadcaster CCTV censored part of the speech, however. They said that beginning when Mr. Parsons said, “At the I.P.C. we aspire to a better and more inclusive world, free from discrimination, free from hate, free from ignorance and free from conflict,” the broadcast ceased both the live translation and the sign language interpretation for about one minute.

During the procession of athletes, Ukraine’s delegation of about 20 athletes and staff entered the stadium to applause, many with fists raised above their heads.

It is a core tenet of the Olympics and Paralympics to avoid politics and remain neutral. But in an announcement banning Russians and Belarusians from participating on Thursday, Mr. Parsons said, “The war has come to our precious Games.”

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