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Beyond Beijing in 2008

Just as the Olympic Games will foster global interest in the charm of the Chinese ancient capital of Beijing, visitors and athletes from around the world also will have the opportunity to experience the splendour of five other Chinese cities chosen as subvenues for the 2008 Olympic Games, if Beijing wins the bid for the Games in July.

The 2008 Olympic Games will take place in 37 competition venues, with another 58 venues provided for training.

Qingdao in East China would feature a sailing center, and soccer matches would be played in East China's Shanghai, North China's Tianjin and Qinhuangdao and Northeast China's Shenyang.

The choice of these venue sites, design and construction of the venues will best present the concept of a "Green Olympics," ''High-tech Olympics" and "People's Olympics."

With facilities already under construction, the five cities, each with unique scenic attractions and rich cultural heritages, are ready to provide enjoyable and safe accommodations for Olympic guests in 2008.

International Marina

Known as a "pearl on the Yellow Sea," Qingdao is surrounded on three sides by water, with Laoshan Mountain as a backdrop. Qingdao's red-tiled roofs and verdant foliage complement its picturesque setting. Its fine beaches, pleasant climate and popular beer brewery make it wildly appealing to tourists.

Qingdao, which has the finest aquatic sports centre in Asia, is well known for water competitions. Thus it is no surprise that the International Sailboating Association judged that Qingdao is capable of becoming the site of the sailing contest if Beijing wins the bid for hosting the 2008 Olympics.

Oriental Pearl

The great metropolis of Shanghai is ready to host key soccer matches in 2008 at its magnificent 80,000-seat Shanghai Stadium.

Shanghai, one of the world's most populous cities, boasts an intriguing, unique blend of Chinese and Western influences.

As one of the favourite Chinese cities for foreign tourists, the city on the Huangpu River is modern, sophisticated and lively.

Communications hub

Soccer is simply a tradition in Tianjin. The city has raised many distinguished players for the national team.

An easy one-hour train trip from Beijing, Tianjin is bounded by the Bohai Sea to the east, the Yanshan Mountain to the north and the Hebei Plains to the south and west.

This commercial hub is already hard at work preparing for the 2008 Games. In March, Tianjin began construction on a new sports stadium that will cost 800 million yuan (US$96 million). The stadium is to be completed by the end of 2003.

The Tianjin Crystal Palace Hotel, a five-minute ride from the stadium, will host the world's soccer athletes.

Beach resort

With 126 kilometres of coastline, the famed tourist city of Qinhuangdao on the Bohai Bay will offer soccer players exquisite scenery and a breath of fresh sea air.

The city started this month to build its largest sport venue, the Qinhuangdao Stadium. It will cost 300 million yuan (US$36 million) and will be done in 2002.

The International Seaside Resort, just 3.5 kilometres from the stadium, will house the athletes and the media.

Hometown of soccer

Soccer fans from Shenyang, a famed "hometown of football" in China, are overjoyed by the prospect of the city becoming an Olympic venue.

Shenyang, the largest industrial city in Northeast China, stands at the junction of key north-south and east-west rail routes, making it a major communications and transportation centre for the region.

The 42,000-square-metre Wulihe Sports Stadium will be a soccer site for 2008.

(China Daily 06/30/2001)