Beyond Beijing in 2008ˇˇSpecial Olympic President Backs Beijing's BidˇˇWorld Olympians Meet in Beijing
Time to give Beijing chance to host Olympic Games - Mayor

Beijing has the ability to host an excellent Olympic Games, and it is also time to give the world's biggest developing nation a chance to host an Olympics, Beijing's mayor Liu Qi said when attending the Association of National Committees of Africa (ANOCA) which concluded in Mombasa on Thursday.
Liu and representatives from Paris, Osaka, Istanbul and Toronto, candidate cities for the 2008 Olympics, attended ANOCA meeting in this port city of Kenya as special guests.

Liu told journalists at the Whitesands Hotel that the reports by some western news media which said that Beijing lacks sports facilities to host Olympic Games is only a misunderstanding.

Beijing needs 37 sports venues to host the 2008 Olympic Games, and 12 of them have already been there, he said, adding that these facilities have been upgraded for the 21st World University Games set for August in Beijing. The Universiade are expected to attract more than 6,500 athletes from 160 countries and regions worldwide.

"We have promised to the Organizing Committee of Universiade that Beijing will turn the event into one of the best in history, and such confidence is based on these well-built facilities," he said.

Beijing will build 23 more sports facilities, but only eight of them will be specially built for the Olympic Games, with the rest to be constructed irrespective of the result of Beijing's Olympic bid.

Some 15 billion US dollars are spent on infrastructure construction in the Chinese capital city every year.

"It is really a small sum for Beijing to spend 1.2 billion US dollars needed for building Olympic facilities over a period of seven years," he said.

Answering whether the issue of human rights will hinder Beijing 's chance of hosting the Games, Liu said that the bid for the 2008 Olympics is a sporting issue totally unrelated with a political matter, and what is more, China has made great advance in improving human rights.

"The campaign linking the human rights issue with Beijing's bid is merely a propaganda to taint Beijing's image," he said.

In his presentation to the ANOCA assembly, Liu said that Beijing has put forward the concept of "New Beijing, Great Olympics", aiming to turn the 2008 event into one that will help improve environment, raise people's living standard and promote cultural exchanges.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) evaluation report on the five candidate cities for the Games says that to hold the event in Beijing will leave a unique legacy to China and its sports. "We are willing to share the legacy with the whole world," Liu said, adding that if Beijing wins the Games, it will set up an Olympic foundation to promote the exchanges among athletes of all countries and further advance the sports sector in developing countries.

Beijing's strong wish to host the 2008 Olympics and its concrete preparation efforts have won praise from many ANOCA members.

E. Zambi, secretary general of the Tanzanian Olympic Committee, said that he has learned from IOC documents and other sources that Beijing has devoted great efforts to prepare for the Olympics.

"It is high time for the Olympics to be held in Beijing, as enough evidence has shown the city has the determination and ability to host a good Olympics" he said.

His words was echoed by Angola Olympic Committee President Rogerio Nunes da Silva, who said that Beijing has improved a lot in almost every aspect since it lost the bid by a narrow margin to Sydney for the 2000 Games.
There have been too many negative reports on China by western media, and to give Beijing the chance to host an Olympics will enable the world to see what is really happening in the country, he said.

What is more important is that China is a developing country, and Beijing hosting the Games will help narrow the gap between rich and poor countries in the world, he added.

(China Daily 06/15/2001)