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IOC Officials Visit Beijing
Members of a coordination commission from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) arrived in Beijing yesterday to help the city better prepare for the 2008 Olympic Games.

The 23-member group, headed by commission chairman Hein Verbruggen, launched a whirlwind tour around Beijing hours after their landing to prepare for their work over next two days.

The fact-finding team, made up of members of the IOC's Coordination Commission for the Beijing Games and experts in a variety of fields, will hold separate talks and seminars with their Chinese counterparts on several Olympic-related areas.

The team encountered a sunny and clear day yesterday, causing Francois Carrard, the IOC's director-general, to pray for the same climate for the Games, which are still six years away.

"We are happy to see the gorgeous blue sky of Beijing, it would be a blessing to keep it that way for the opening of the Olympic Games in 2008," said Carrard, hinting environmental issues will be vital for China's first ever Olympics.

The environment is one of the issues that the team plans to cover. Other areas include infrastructure, security, finances and the budget.

The team will mainly focus on goals for the next six months and provide expertise on how they should be fulfilled to Beijing's Olympic organizing committee, IOC sports director Gilbert Felli said.

It will be "a full program of transfer of knowledge," he said.

The IOC officials also said that they were sure that the tensions between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan would not interfere with the 2008 Games.

"We are absolutely confident that this should not be an issue for the Games in 2008," said Carrard.

(China Daily August 8, 2002)

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