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Beijing Makes Sure No White Elephants After Games

Beijing has done an excellent job in preparing the venues and facilities for the 2008 Olympic Games, said an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member on Saturday.

Wu Ching-Kuo, also a member of the IOC coordination commission for the 2008 Games, gave his full consent to the way that Beijing invite ownership tenders worldwide for the construction and operation for the stadia while he is visiting Changsha for the Chinese City Games, which kicks off on Saturday.

"I'd rather say that what the Beijing organizers are doing is a milestone in the Olympic history," said Wu, in charge of the engineering and construction section of the coordination commission.

"They ask the bidders rather than the government to finance, construct and operate the stadiums after the 2008 Games is over, which saves the government a lot of worries about the finance and the maintenance of the stadiums," he said. "And the most important thing is that the large stadiums won't become 'white elephants' after the Games."

Beijing has invited international and local companies to lodge ownership bids for Olympic venues and facilities, including the Olympic Village, National Swimming Center and the Wukesong Cultural and Sports Center. Tenders will be awarded by October. The winning companies will acquire a 30-year right to operate the stadiums.

In August, a consortium led by the China International Trust and Investment Corp won the ownership tender for the National Stadium, the main stadium for the Games as they will raise the funding for 42 per cent of the stadium's 3.5 billion-yuan (US$423 million) cost.

"The IOC has paid much attention to the post-Games utilization of the facilities when Beijing is preparing for the Games," Wu said. "And Beijing has jumped to a good start in this aspect."

(Xinhua News Agency October 19, 2003)

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