With the Beijing Olympics edging ever closer, 2007 will
provide one of the final opportunities for discussion about the
Games across the spectrum such as public manners and food safety.
Deputies to the National People's Congress (NPC) and members of the
National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative
Conference (CPPCC) who are in Beijing attending their annual sessions shared their opinions on how to
best ensure China hosts a successful Olympiad.
With only 500 or so days to go until the opening ceremony, the
matter most concerning the delegates has not been venue
construction or infrastructure development, both of which are
progressing apace, but improving manners among the general
Former Chinese female ping pong champion and current CPPCC
member, Deng Yaping, addressed infrastructure development and venue
construction, saying that work was going well and had both been
praised by the International Olympic Committee.
"Services are the last thing that we are concerned about. China
will welcome over 500,000 foreign visitors during the Beijing
Olympics and accommodating all of them will be a tough challenge,"
said Deng, who has been appointed as the deputy director of the
2008 Olympic Village.
"When playing and studying abroad, I was sometimes cheated by
local cab drivers who overcharged me due to being a foreigner. The
practice disgusted me and still does today," she said, calling upon
all Chinese to help give China a good image during the 2008
Former speed skating world champion Ye Qiaobo, now a CPPCC
member, further called upon spectators to improve their
"During the sixth Winter Asiad in Changchun last month, Chinese
audiences only egged on their own athletes and sometimes heckled
competitors from other nations. I witnessed this personally and am
afraid of seeing it again at the Beijing Olympics," Ye
Shi Ying, an NPC deputy from Liaoning Province, backed Ye by
saying that the measure of a successful Olympics was in showcasing
a country's civilization and spirit rather than in lavish decors or
in medal hauls.
Calling on local people to improve their English, CPPCC member
and BOCOG executive vice president Li Binghua extolled his hopes to
see at least half of Beijing residents able to hold a brief
conversation with foreigners in 2008.
Discussing the progress of mainland sports programs, CPPCC
member and president of the Hong Kong Olympic Committee Timothy Fok
outlined several systematic obstacles that continue to impair
sports development on the mainland and encouraged establishing a
mechanism similar to that extant in Hong Kong. Fok added that such
a mechanism, aptly considering both marketing operations and
enterprise management, would reap benefits on the mainland
mirroring the great achievements seen in Hong Kong.
As for food safety during the Games, BOCOG President Liu Qi
sought to allay fears on the sidelines of the ongoing NPC session.
"A catering work supervision group has been created up to oversee
food safety during the Games and to ensure no additives are used
which could potentially lead to doping problems," he said.
Test events held in the second half of this year will address
the issue of traceability in food safety, seeking to further set
minds at rest.
(China.org.cn by Li Xiao, March 13, 2007)