No smoking, no littering and many other no-doings expect Beijing during summer Olympic Games. Beijing authorities intend to put quite a number of restrictions into practice for the time of the Games. Many of those novelties will seem to be rather unpleasant and unusual for many natives of the Chinese capital.
Apparently, organizers of the Olympics 2008 are going to make them most comfortable, ecology-friendly and safe Olympic Games. Being, as the hosting city, will have to sacrifice many of its traditions and customs, as it usually happens in such cases.
A whole bouquet of various restrictions and prohibitions will come into force during the summer of 2008 in Beijing. Smoking in public places, storing dangerous minerals at school labs, the use of cars with odd numbers on even days, etc will be strictly prohibited.
Beijing authorities pay special attention to ecology. Free plastic bags will be banned in Chinese food stores all across the nation. The new rule will come into force in June. The Chinese will have to use traditional bamboo baskets or non-expendable bags made of textile fabric.
A number of prohibitions will touch upon the media. Rumor has it that the authorities will restrict entrance to Beijing shortly before the Olympics. Prices on visas to China will raise too.
The 2008 Summer Olympics will open on August 8, 2008 and run through August 24, 2008. The opening ceremony will commence at 08:08:08 CST at the Beijing National Stadium.
The Olympic games were awarded to Beijing, People's Republic of China after an exhaustive ballot of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on July 13, 2001. The official logo of the games, titled "Dancing Beijing," features a stylized calligraphic character jing (meaning capital), referencing the host city. The mascots of Beijing 2008 are the five Fuwa, each representing one color of the Olympic rings. The Olympic slogan, One World, One Dream, calls upon the world to unite in the Olympic spirit. Athletes will compete in 302 events in 28 sports, just one event more than was on the schedule of the Athens games of 2004. Several new NOCs have also been recognized by the IOC.
By May 2007, construction of all thirty-one Beijing-based Olympic Games venues had begun. The Chinese government is also investing in the renovation and construction of six venues outside Beijing as well as fifty-nine training centers. Its largest architectural pieces will be the Beijing National Stadium, Beijing National Indoor Stadium, Beijing National Aquatics Centre, Olympic Green Convention Centre, Olympic Green, and Beijing Wukesong Culture & Sports Center. Almost 85 percent of the construction budget for the six main venues is being funded by US$2.1 billion in corporate bids and tenders. Investments are expected from corporations seeking ownership rights after the 2008 Summer Olympics. Some venues will be owned and governed by the State General Administration of Sports, which will use them after the Olympics as facilities for all future national sports teams and events.
It was announced on July 8, 2005 that the equestrian events are to be held in Hong Kong because of "uncertainties of equine diseases and major difficulties in establishing a disease-free zone." The five venues outside Beijing will be located in Qingdao, Hong Kong, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Qinhuangdao
The Beijing municipal authority has declared that more than 70 local laws and decrees would be made before the 2008 Summer Olympics which would banish local people who don't have hukou (residency permits) of Beijing. It would also banish vagrants, beggars, and people with mental illness from the city. The municipal authority also made it clear that it would strengthen border control, call for a "special holiday", or forcible shutout, to make Beijing citizens stay at home during the Olympics. It also seeks to strengthen controls over Chinese and foreign NGOs and forbid any protests during the games. The government has also strengthened its laws relating to prosecution of those deemed to be disseminating material not beneficial to the state.
The Geneva-based group, Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions has claimed that 1.5 million Beijing residents will be displaced from their homes for the Olympics event. Beijing's Olympic organizing committee and China's Foreign Ministry have put the number at 6,037. As of May 2005, 300,000 residents have been evicted in preparation for the games. Police in Beijing placed many people under arrest for protesting against the evictions.
Prepared by Dmitry Sudakov
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