November 2, 2001

US NGOs Back Beijing's Olympic Bid

Beijing's bid to host the 2008 Olympic Games has not only aroused awareness across the country but also gained support from abroad.

Four US non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have concluded that China's progress and commitment to the environment justifies Beijing's successful bid for the Olympics in 2008.

The four environmental protection organizations - the Humane Society of the United States, EarthVoice, US-China Environmental Fund (USCEF), and the US National Association for Interpretation - have been touring China and have had the opportunity to monitor environmental progress throughout the country over the last week.

"We have seen the sincere and serious commitment of the government at the highest levels to protect wildlife. Therefore, we strongly support the Beijing bid for the Olympics in 2008," said Paul Irwin, president of the Humane Society of the United States. He was speaking in a meeting with Beijing 2008 Olympic Bid Committee officials on Saturday in Beijing.

The buzz words of "green Olympics" have been welcomed by the humane society which is said to be the largest animal protection organization in the world.

Today, the Olympic Games is not simply a sports contest but an event closely related to other factors such as culture and environment, Irwin said.

Members from the four organizations expressed their admiration over biodiversity in China when visiting the Wolong Giant Panda Nature Reserve in Southwest China's Sichuan Province on Sunday.

Citing the huge diversity of species and the variety of ecosystems in China, Jan Hartke, executive director of EarthVoice, a Washington-based NGO focusing on sustainable development and biodiversity conservation, said: "The wonderful untold story of China is the extraordinary beauty and diversity of this vast country. The Olympics will be enriched by showcasing China's wild, world-class parks and protected areas."

Based on the rapid development of China's environmental protection sector, including the broad participation of the public and emerging NGOs, the four US NGOs said they are very confident Beijing is capable of hosting a green Olympics in 2008.

China's successful bid for the Games will become a powerful force to drive change and a green Beijing, and to also advance environmental protection for all the people of China, Hartke said.

(China Daily 05/23/2001)

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