BEIJING (AP) — An IOC evaluation commission has begun meetings in Beijing in preparation for a five-day inspection of the city's 2022 Winter Olympics bid.

The 19-member commission will begin visiting sites in central Beijing on Tuesday before checking proposed venues further outside.

Beijing is competing against Almaty, Kazakhstan, and if successful would be the first city to hold both the summer and winter games.

Organizers say hosting the games would raise the profile of winter sports in the world's most populous nation. Most of the proposed venues are left over from the 2008 Olympics, leading to significant cost savings.

Key concerns include a lack of natural snow and Beijing's notorious air pollution. Pro-Tibetan and human rights groups have also urged the IOC to consider China's rights abuses in its decision.

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