Organizers of the 2008 Olympic Games said on Monday that
preparations for next year's Olympics are progressing smoothly but
challenges remain in areas like air pollution and citizens'
"On the whole, preparations for the Beijing Olympics are
smoothly progressing in accordance with plans," Wang Wei, executive
vice president of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2008
Olympics (BOCOG), told a press conference held to mark Wednesday's
start to the one-year countdown to the Games.
With the Chinese capital shrouded in thick smog on Monday, Wang
said that air quality in the city has improved a lot.
Citing World Health Organization indicators, Wang said good
quality air days had increased from 100 in 1998 to 241 in 2006, and
serious air pollution days had decreased from 141 to 24.
Wang also said that special measures would be taken to ensure
good air quality in next August.
"Good air quality and blue sky are not only important for the
Olympic Games," he said. "What matters more to us is not the image
(of the country), but the health of the athletes and local
A series of regulations aimed at ensuring media freedom in
reporting the 2008 Games took effect early this year, which put
Beijing under intense scrutiny of international press.
Jiang Xiaoyu, also a BOCOG executive vice president, said that
BOCOG welcomes reporters to objectively, fairly and comprehensively
report on Beijing's Olympic preparatory work.
"We have already heard some different voices, and we are
mentally prepared for such voices to get louder and even sharper,"
"We welcome constructive criticism on our faults and defects,
but we resolutely oppose the politicization of Olympic affairs, for
this does not accord with the Olympic spirit and Olympic Charter,"
Compared to problems like pollution and traffic congestions, the
Olympic organizers seem to be more worried about so-called
"The biggest challenge (in the year to come) is how to make sure
our service level and the civility of our people matches the
holding of an excellent Olympics," said Jiang.
(Xinhua News Agency August 6, 2007)