The 29th Olympic Games will begin on August 8 in Beijing with the whole world watching. The Chinese government and people have been preparing for this historic event of peace, friendship and progress for the past seven years with no efforts spared to make it a great success.
The results of these preparations have already caught people's imagination, such as the venues for all the Olympic competitions, including the awe-inspiring Bird's Nest and mesmerizing Water Cube.
To ensure smooth transportation during the Games, Beijing has completed several new subway lines and many more bus routes while implementing such temporary traffic arrangements as an odd-even alternate road access scheme according to the vehicle's license plate number and issuing temporary driving permits to journalists from outside the mainland to cover the sports events more efficiently.
For security the city has formed an army of 15,000 ordinary citizens as well as professional guards, Armed Police and public security officers to protect power lines and public transit routes serving the Games directly, plus a 400-member special patrol team charged with safeguarding the key transmission lines in the North China power grid designated for the Beijing Olympics.
Richard C Bush III, director of Northeast Asia studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC, said of his recent trips to China's capital city: Beijing has changed so much as it prepares for the Olympic Games. Infrastructural development is giving the city a new look everyday; skyscrapers are rising one after another; white covers adorn taxi seats; Olympic hostesses are undergoing intensive training, while all Beijing residents are learning English. All this has often left him, a 'China hand' who flies between Washington and Beijing frequently, in Beijing's streets wondering 'where north is'.
For China, hosting the Olympic Games is really no child's play. It is a fixture of many feelings for the Chinese people.
They feel very proud of their achievements. Every country hosting the Olympiad wants to present itself to the world. As for the Chinese people they have every reason to be hyper-passionate about the Beijing Olympics because this is the first time they are hosting the Games and they have experienced so many highs and lows as a nation with such a long and rich history. But they are more focused on being a good host, fulfilling their obligations to the world community and doing everything right to the best of their abilities.
They are prepared to put in more efforts whenever necessary but not in disregard of consequences. It was reported that Games-related spending so far has exceeded $40 billion and some people are now worried if China's economy will suffer the so-called post-Olympic slump. A spokesperson for the National Bureau of Statistics has responded to this question with a 'No', because the country's economic aggregate is large enough, its territory wide enough and economic structure rounded enough for necessary maneuvers, not to forget that China's overall economic performance in the first half of the year was quite good.
The nation's athletes will do their best to win more gold medals but will not let them become a burden. Former men's 110m hurdle world record holder Liu Xiang has set an exceptionally good example for taking such challenges in stride when he responded, smiling, to news that someone had just bettered his world record.
They will create a relaxed environment without letting their guard down. It is quite widely believed that Beijing is faced with a generally stable security situation, though unconventional as well as conventional security threats still exist. There is also the opinion that 'Tibet independence' and 'Xinjiang independence' or hostile forces of any other description might take this opportunity to sabotage the Beijing Olympiad and the city is trying to make its defense seamless, an effort that deserves appreciation and recognition.
The anti-China forces around the world have gone out of their way to discredit the Beijing Olympic Games by politicizing it but such attempts are bound to fail. On July 9 US President George W. Bush said in his meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao that he did not wish to see the Olympic Games tied to issues such as religious freedom. President Hu said he highly appreciated Bush's view.
We can see some subtle twists in various attempts by anti-China cliques around the world. They claim to protect human rights and democracy but cannot deny that violent attacks, vandalism, looting and arson by the very people they support wreaked havoc in Tibet earlier this year; they have tried to upset China by obstructing the Olympic Torch relays and urging foreign leaders to boycott the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympiad but not the Games itself.
Of course, there are people who have expressed legitimate concerns.
One of their concerns is security. Vice-President Xi Jinping said on July 9 that security is the most important factor in hosting a successful Beijing Olympic Games. According to media reports, the Olympic security forces will be responsible for aerial security over Beijing and co-host cities elsewhere during the Games, marine security along the Bohai Bay shoreline, assisting local police handle terrorist attacks with nuclear (radioactive), chemical or biological hazards as well attacks by (conventional) bombs, providing security intelligence, organizing emergency rescue, medical aid and airlift by helicopters, stepping up border control and management during the Games and maintaining border and coastal area stability.
Another concern is about freedom of the press. Li Changchun, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said while touring the press center of the Beijing Olympic Games that China would welcome journalists from all over the world with open arms as well as mind and is willing to do everything necessary for them to cover the Games while not fretting over 'bad news' reports. International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge said on July 17 that media entities can do news coverage freely in China during the Olympics.
Yet another concern is about the environment. The IOC recently sent a group of officials and experts to China to take a final look at the Games venues before it starts in August and they left satisfied. President Rogge also agreed the Chinese people had made remarkable progress in environmental protection.
Preparations for the Beijing Olympic Games are now almost complete. 'A People's, Green and Scientific Olympiad' captures the essence of the Beijing Olympic slogan of 'One World, One Dream' best. The Beijing Olympic Games will no doubt exemplify the Olympic Spirit as well as China's true color and enter the annals of human sports as a magnificent chapter.
(China Daily July 24.2008)