As Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, looked over the opening ceremonies of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, we saw the two strongest authoritarian leaders presiding over a superbly choreographed Olympic ceremony, sending a unified signal of dismissiveness and confidence to their domestic and international audiences.

One of the highlights of the ceremony was the emphasis on ethnic harmony within the Chinese context and the ethnic Uyghur who lit the final Olympic torch. It was an explicit message to the international community that the Chinese Communist Party willfully dismisses the very well documented human rights abuses against the Uyghur people in Xinjiang province.

It was also a clear sign that Beijing fully rejects the well-founded criticisms leveled against the National Security Law, which breaks the “one country-two systems” promise in Hong Kong, and against its growing belligerence towards democratic Taiwan.