The Beijing 2008 pre - Olympics thread

edit - 1032, 27 Jul 2008:
Makes more sense. The Games haven’t even started yet.

Beijing, as we know, is hosting the 2008 Olympics. There are numerous stories appearing around the web and in the print media about this…some good…some bad.
I thought a thread devoted to this subject would be a good place to bring all these together in one place.

Starting off with:

[quote]British defy Beijing over masks
From The Times, February 14, 2008

British Olympic authorities will risk offending their Chinese hosts at the Beijing Games this summer by allowing their athletes to wear masks while competing in order to contain the impact of air pollution.

The issue of pollution has dogged the lead-up to the Games and the Chinese are unlikely to enjoy having television pictures beamed around the world showing the likes of Paula Radcliffe running the marathon with a high-tech antipollution mask and looking as if she is a hospital surgeon.

Some countries, notably the United States, have arrived at the opposite conclusion and put their disinclination to offend the Chinese ahead of their desire for competitive advantage. If the pollution is as bad as is feared, the US Olympic Committee (USOC) may well issue its athletes with masks, but will simultaneously inform them not to wear them while competing.

“We have decided that we will not run the risk of creating bad relations with China by creating embarrassment by wearing masks during competition,” Dr Randy Wilber, the USOC senior sports physiologist, said. “Hopefully the bad air will not be an issue, but during competition you will not see any American wearing a mask.”

Politics and protocol will not lead the British Olympic Association (BOA) into following that stance. “This is a competitive issue,” Simon Clegg, the BOA chief executive, said. “We are in the business of trying to win medals here and beat our competitors. We are all hopeful that the Chinese authorities will have addressed this issue by August so the athletes are not put in a position where the measures we have put in place have to be deployed. But we are in the business of providing our athletes with competitive advantage. We need to put in place whatever strategies are appropriate to ensure that we give our athletes the best chance of delivering.”

The masks were commissioned by UK Sport’s Research and Innovation Unit and designed by scientists at Brunel University. Radcliffe and other athletes tested them at a training camp in South Africa last month.

The masks have a mouthpiece with a filter containing absorbent material. Further details have been closely guarded. Sports scientists in the leading Olympic countries have been involved in a secret competition to equip their athletes best for the conditions in Beijing. Inhalers are likely to be prescribed to borderline asthmatics who would not usually use them.

While the Americans will wear masks but not in competition, the Canadians and Australians will not wear them at all. The Australian Olympic Committee is taking a team of 70 medical specialists to Beijing, including doctors, nutritionists, dieticians, physiotherapists, masseurs and soft-tissue specialists.

Mike Tancred, media director of the Australian Olympic Committee, said yesterday: “We have a medical strategy already in place which all our sports are practising in the months leading up to the start of the Games. This strategy will give us an edge over the opposition.”

However, according to Michael Scordino, who is organising Celebration China – a five-day preOlympic festival in Qingdao, the sailing venue, in May – “appearances are important to the Chinese. There is this very deep philosophy of not losing face. Whether people will or will not wear masks, I have no idea, but it will be a great concern to them.”

The hosts have promised extreme measures to contain air pollution during the 17 days of the Games. However, the International Olympic Committee has already suggested that certain events may have to be postponed if the air quality is not good enough. That is a humiliation the Chinese would be desperate to avoid.
Times On Line[/quote]

Some countries are also shipping in their own food for their athletes due to the re-curring food safety issues in the PRC.

What about condoms and the activities at the athletes village? I know things in Shanghai and amongst the professional classes are pretty swinging, but maybe the local volunteers in Beijing might have more prudish mentalities about such things. If the athletes’ nocturnal activities are limited or frowned upon with dirty looks (especially if it’s the local girls that are being corrupted :laughing: ), that could cuz some tension of a non-sexual kind between the volunteers and athletes. Or maybe I’ve been reading too many books lately on the Cultural Revolution, and Beijing is now a liberal-minded city on sex issues?

[quote]LOS ANGELES/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Oscar-winning film director Steven Spielberg withdrew on Tuesday as an artistic adviser to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing over China’s policy on the conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region.

“I find that my conscience will not allow me to continue business as usual,” Spielberg said in a statement issued on a day when Nobel Peace laureates sent a letter to China’s president urging a change in policies toward its ally Sudan.

“At this point, my time and energy must be spent not on Olympic ceremonies, but on doing all I can to help bring an end to the unspeakable crimes against humanity that continue to be committed in Darfur,” he added.

China is a leading oil customer and supplier of weapons to Sudan and is accused by critics of providing diplomatic cover for Khartoum as it stonewalls international efforts to send peacekeepers into Darfur.

In April, Spielberg wrote a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao adding his voice to the chorus of people who have protested China’s involvement with the Sudanese government over the crisis in Darfur. At that time, Spielberg had asked to meet with Hu, but the president failed to respond.

In his statement on Tuesday, Spielberg said Sudan’s government shouldered the bulk of responsibility for “these ongoing crimes” in Darfur but said China “should be doing more to end the continuing human suffering there.”[/quote]

China protests that this goes against the spirit of keeping sporting events non-political. Sports non-political? Have they never heard of the Olympics? Oh wait…

So far I haven’t heard if Spielberg also mentioned something about human rights abuses in China which of course would have been more germane to his stepping down as advisor for the Chinese. But anything that sticks it to the bastards in Beijing makes me smile.

Well, I do remember that someone in Hollywood (forgot who) asked if Spielberg really wanted to become the Leni Riefenstahl of the 2008 games. Was it Mia Farrow? Old news already, I completely forgot.

Yeah, right … his conscience … his conscience …

My bet though: he had to realize how hard it can be working with the Chinese … and now throws the towl before he ends up as Leni Spielberg AND someone who can not deliver till the deadline.


Mucha Man -
Some follow-up (damage control?) to the China Olympics/Spielberg story:

[quote] Games organizers respond to Spielberg
By CHRISTOPER BODEEN, Associated Press Writer Thu Feb 14, 7:49 AM ET

BEIJING - China is blaming activists with “ulterior motives” for linking the Beijing Olympics to the nation’s involvement in Sudan, with top officials saying they shared concerns over the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.

The film director withdrew on Tuesday on the grounds that China wasn’t doing enough to pressure Sudan over the conflict in its western region of Darfur.

China is believed to have influence over the Islamic regime because it buys two-thirds of the country’s oil exports while selling it weapons and defending it in the United Nations.

In their first response to Spielberg’s announcement, Games organizers said his decision would not affect planning for the opening and closing ceremonies, adding: “We express our regret over his recent personal statement.”

“The Chinese government has made unremitting efforts to resolve the Darfur issue, an obvious fact to the international community which holds unprejudiced opinions on this issue,” the organizers, known as BOCOG, said in a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press.

“Linking the Darfur issue to the Olympic Games will not help to resolve this issue and is not in line with the Olympic Spirit that separates sports from politics,” BOCOG said.

China is on the defensive against critics using the Games to spotlight the communist regime’s curbs on human rights, press freedoms, and religion.

It is understandable if some people do not understand the Chinese government policy on Darfur,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said. “But I am afraid that some people may have ulterior motives, and this we cannot accept.”(excert from article) … _spielberg[/quote]

See…its all just a mis-understanding…poor mis-understood PLA…

Some more on the PRC Olympics…

[quote] China mounts dissident assault before Games
By David Eimer in Beijing.
Last Updated: 11:59pm GMT 16/02/2008

Arrested: Campaigner Hu Jian with his wife Zeng Jinyan. Their baby is also under house arrest

China has been accused of committing new human rights abuses ahead of this August’s Beijing Olympics, while spending vast amounts on hi-tech surveillance and security systems.

The crackdown is making a mockery of China’s promise to the International Olympic Committee in 2001 that it would improve its dismal human rights record and allow greater media freedom if it were allowed to host the Games.

“The human rights situation in China has worsened over the past six months,” said Sharon Hom, the executive director of the US-based organisation Human Rights in China. “We’re seeing increased restrictions on freedom of expression and the detention and harassment of human rights activists.”

Despite the shiny new stadiums that now dot Beijing’s smoggy skyline, the most lasting legacy of this year’s Olympics may well be the state-of the-art surveillance systems the authorities have installed, supposedly to counter any terrorist threat. Many, though, believe the monitoring equipment will be used to track people suspected of opposing the Communist regime.

Criticism of China’s failure to act on its promise to cease human rights abuses was stepped up this week, following the decision of Steven Spielberg, the Hollywood film director, to resign from his role as an artistic adviser for the Games’ opening and closing ceremonies. Mr Spielberg pulled out accusing the Chinese of doing too little to stop the slaughter of civilians in the Darfur region of Sudan, where Beijing enjoys diplomatic influence thanks to its trade ties. Other celebrities, such as the musician Quincy Jones, are now said to be re-considering their involvement in the Games.

Bizarrely, among the activists now under house arrest is a two-month-old baby girl, who is believed to be China’s youngest political prisoner.

Her father, Hu Jia, a campaigner for the rights of Aids patients, and a blogger on land and environmental abuses, was charged at the end of January with “inciting subversion of state power”, a catch-all charge frequently used against dissidents. His wife Zeng Jinyan, together with her mother and daughter, are all under house arrest in Beijing.

Mr Hu was a high-profile supporter of Yang Chunlin, a factory worker arrested last July after circulating an online petition calling for “human rights, not the Olympics”.

Mr Hu also helped publicise the cases of Chen Guangcheng, a blind civil rights activist who has been under house arrest in eastern Shandong Province for the past four months for exposing a policy of forced abortions for people who break China’s rigid one-child policy, and fellow blogger Lu Gengsong, who is currently on trial, also for “inciting subversion of state power”.

The round-up of activists and tighter censorship of the domestic press and the internet, especially video-sharing websites, are part of a huge campaign by the authorities to ensure protesters do not disrupt the Olympics. With banned groups such as the Falun Gong, a spiritual organisation regarded as a cult by the Chinese leadership, and Free Tibet campaigners expected to mount protests both in the run-up to and during the Games, the authorities are also planning to flood Beijing with police in an effort to quell dissent.

Scores of plain clothes police officers already mingle with tourists in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. But the authorities now see sophisticated surveillance systems as the most effective way of combating public protests. With 265,000 cameras across the city, Beijing is already the CCTV capital of China. Now, thousands more are being installed, with the city spending a reported 300 million yuan (£21.2?million) on boosting its security technology ahead of the Games.

“After the Olympic Games, there’s going to be a massively improved infrastructure of surveillance and security systems,” Miss Hom told The Sunday Telegraph.

“All the subways, roads and airports are being equipped with cameras. The ability of the authorities to control and crack down on dissident action and large crowds will be vastly enhanced.”

In a sign of how seriously Beijing is taking the threat to the Olympics from protesters, it was announced last week that Xi Jinping, the rising star of the Chinese government, will take charge of preparations. Widely tipped as the successor to President Hu Jintao when he retires in 2012, Mr Xi, 54, will be in charge of the massive security operation, while trying to dispel concerns over human rights abuses and air pollution.

Mickey Mouse has a camera…and he’s watching you…:sunglasses:

From The Times Online…Let the Protest Games Begin!

“Will political and human rights campaigns sour China’s Olympic party?”

from the Telegraph:

Spectators warn of chaos at Beijing Olympics

Not as bad as the title makes it seem. A bit of entrepreneurial spirit among the locals (ticket scalping) and some whining about long lines (ques-sp?).

A really wonderful aspect of the games is that Cho Dofu has been outlawed in BJ nightmarkets.

Wow, they have markets for those? :wink: :blush: :slight_smile:

a BJ with an unhappy ending.

I love the way all the Chinese authorities are going on about their glorious new arenas and stadia, and about how they showcase the great ingenuity of the Chinese master-race (sieg heil!), when in fact they have pretty much all been designed by overseas companies… French, Australian, etc.

I can wait for the independent bloggers coverage.
The major news outlets are going to be just as favorable towards China as reporters in Iraq are favorable towards the insurgency - they know that if they don’t report stories that present the locals in a good light it will be the last time CNN ever gets any worthwhile information in China. CNN coverage will be as worthless as a PRC propaganda rag itself. but man, those bloggers. Is anybody going to ask how much the workers who built the stadium got paid or where they are now?

Oh yeah, and the building doesn’t have a roof and China promises it has the technology to make sure it doesn’t rain. If hilarity doesn’t ensue, I’ll be amazed.

And a response from the PRC PR group:

Food at Olympics is safe: Officials

[i]"Beijing Thursday reaffirmed the safety of food at the Olympic Games after media reports that the US contingent plans to prepare its own meals at the Games due to safety concerns.

“We’ve made great efforts to ensure safe supplies for the Games and we hope athletes dine together,” Kang Yi, chief of the food division of the Games services department, told a press conference.

“If the US delegation is not at these gatherings, I would personally regret it,” she said.

Some foreign media including The New York Times reported earlier this month that the US Olympic Committee had arranged with sponsors to ship about 11,000 kg of lean protein to Beijing for the Games in response to concerns about the potential impact of veterinary drugs and insecticides on athletes.

But Kang said her division had received no formal notification from the US regarding the plan.

She also made it clear that according to established international practice, foreign athletes cannot take their own food into the Olympic Village. (emphasis added)

Tang Yunhua, spokeswoman for the Beijing municipal office for food safety, also said such worries were unwarranted."[/i]

As to that claim made in the bolded text, that is highly unlikely and most probably compltely wrong.

Well, I for one am looking forward to attending the 1938 Olympics. I’ve already got my hospitality suit.

In August 1936 Olympic flags and swastikas bedecked the monuments and houses of a festive, crowded Berlin. Most tourists were unaware that thez regime had temporarily removed anti-Jewish signs. Neither would tourists have known of the “clean up” ordered by the German Ministry of Interior in which the Berlin Police arrested all Gypsies prior to the Games.

(O)fficials ordered that foreign visitors should not be subjected to the criminal strictures of the Nazi anti-homosexual laws.

“(N)ewspapers will print – at their own risk – reports from the Olympics released prior to the official press report.”

'The racial point of view should not be used in any way in reporting sports results; above all Negroes should not be insensitively reported. . . . Negroes are American citizens and must be treated with respect as Americans.“

The northern section of the Olympic village, originally utilized by the Wehrmacht, should not be referred to as ‘Kasernel’, but will hereafter be called `North Section Olympic Village.’”

Some more on the Beijing Games '08.

[quote]New book details Chinese spy effort ahead of Olympics
Feb 26 09:44 AM US/Eastern, AFP

As athletes train for the summer Olympics in China, a new book claims that the country’s vast spy network is gearing up for a different challenge - keeping an eye on journalists and potential troublemakers.

French writer Roger Faligot, author of some 40 intelligence-related books, has penned ‘The Chinese Secret Services from Mao to the Olympic Games’, due out February 29.

His findings claim that special teams are being formed at the country’s embassies abroad “to identify sports journalists … and to define if they have an ‘antagonistic’ or ‘friendly’ attitude in regards to China.”

Potential foreign spies who may seek to enter China by posing as journalists or visitors will be subject to special surveillance.

The same goes for human rights activists who could use the event to demonstrate in favour of causes such as Tibet, where China has violently crushed protests against its rule, it says.

That’s not to mention the long list of other issues preoccupying Chinese authorities, including the possibility of an Al-Qaeda attack and protests from the Falun Gong spiritual movement. China has outlawed Falun Gong, which combines meditation with Buddhist-inspired teachings.

“The watchword for the Chinese is ‘no problems at the Olympics,’” Faligot says.

Faligot, who is fluent in Mandarin, says he spoke with numerous Chinese officials.

According to him, two million Chinese work directly or indirectly for the intelligence services through the state security agency.

In a chapter titled ‘China: Gold Medal for Espionage’, the author says the director of the group coordinating Olympic security, Qiang Wei, has a 1.3-billion-dollar (885-million-euro) budget.

An Olympic security command centre has been created “in order to assure a response to all risks in real time”.

Olympic organisers admitted last year to budget overruns caused by extra expenditure on security at the Games, the biggest international event ever staged in communist China.

Last September, China’s then-police chief Zhou Yongkang said that “terrorist” and “extremist” groups posed the biggest threat to the success of the Olympics.

He did not elaborate, but China has previously accused some members of the ethnic Muslim Uighur community in the nation’s far western region of Xinjiang of terror-related activities.

In the year leading up to the August 8-24 Games, the Chinese army will have organised 25 exercises on how to respond to crises, including a chemical attack on the subway.

The teams being formed in foreign embassies will work in conjunction with “different Chinese intelligence services under diplomatic cover”.

Those intelligence services will include the secretive 610 office, set up in 1999 to target the Falun Gong movement and which operates worldwide.

But the intelligence services won’t only be deployed during the Olympics to keep an eye out, Faligot says. They’ll also be recruiting among the two million visitors expected for the event.[/quote]

Since this is an AFP story, does anyone think the ‘wire pullers’ at the local engrish language papers will print this one?

Beijing pulls all strings necessary to meet self-imposed “blue sky days” target before the Games. Of course, they say it’s a miracle of planning and the communist state.

Outside of China, however, there are more naysayers than applause. Beijing organisers have moved the goal posts by building more recording stations in clean areas, eliminating the recording stations in the most polluted regions and suspect readings from their dataset, ignored the contribution from ozone (a serious respiratory pollutant, specially in a sport scenario) and concentrated instead on particulates at 10 microns, the easiest to clean up with enforced traffic reductions.

mainstream wire service reports:

more independent investigative reports.

and the party line: (of course, it’s vastly different)

Take a break, have some nice wonderful relaxing moment here or here

[quote=“beebee”]Take a break, have some nice wonderful relaxing moment here or here
Ahhh…women in uniform…lovely.


A ‘2 for’…Olympics and Water Woes

Olympics Highlight Beijing Water Woes

“BEIJING (AP) — When 16,000 athletes and officials show up this summer, they will be able to turn the taps and get drinkable water — something few Beijing residents ever have enjoyed.
But to keep those taps flowing for the Olympics, the city is draining surrounding regions, depriving poor farmers of water.
Though the Chinese capital’s filthy air makes headlines, water may be its most desperate environmental challenge. Explosive growth combined with a persistent drought mean the city of 17 million people is fast running out of water.”

[i]Souvenirs!..Get Yer Souvenirs![/i]

[quote]Licensed scale model of Beijing Olympic torch to go on sale March 8

(image will not reproduce here - view at link)

ING, March 6 – In celebration of the upcoming start of the Beijing Olympic Torch Relay, a new Beijing Olympic licensed product, a scale model of the Beijing Olympic Torch, was unveiled Thursday morning.

Measuring 29 cm in height, the scale model of the torch is made of steel left over from the construction of the “Bird’s Nest.” It is the first 3-D model of an Olympic torch that has been authorized by the International Olympic Committee.

The Olympic Flame has brought the joy and fervor of the Olympic Spirit to people all over the world for over 100 years. This August 8, when the Olympic Flame lights the cauldron inside the “Bird’s Nest,” the main venue of the Games of the XXIX Olympiad in Beijing, a new chapter of emotion and excitement will begin.

In the meantime, collectors and fans around the world will have a chance to share a part of the Olympic Spirit through this collector’s item. The licensed model torch has a worldwide limited release of 200,000 and will be available to collectors for 2,900 yuan beginning March 8. … 739071.htm[/quote]

Soon to be available on Taiwan for NT$300!