Beijing Fulfills Olympic Commitments

By the moment the Olympic flame atop the Bird's Nest goes out, it is proved that Beijing has lived up to the trust of the world, by turning the opportunity the Chinese capital won seven years ago into a 16-day miracle that will forever shine in Olympic history.

Most of the Olympic Games so far have been hosted by developed nations, but China has shown it can do as well and even better.

The success of the Beijing Olympics demonstrates the great achievements the ancient oriental nation has attained during the three decades of reform and opening up, without which the "high-standard and unique" Games would have been impossible.

Moreover, Beijing has done everything possible in the past seven years to fulfill its commitments to the international community and to guarantee the successful Olympics.

Chinese President Hu Jintao said that the Beijing Olympics organizers did a great deal of work and achieved outstanding results in all aspects, including venue and infrastructure construction, environmental protection, city operation, security and media service.

He said the work implemented the concept of the "Green Olympics, High-tech Olympic and People's Olympics", which will in turn play a significant role in promoting China's environmental protection, scientific innovation and public participation in social affairs.

Beijing made it a priority to reduce air pollution over the past decade to fulfill the Green Olympics concept. The municipal authorities invested about 120 billion yuan (US$17 billion) in this effort.

Beijing relocated part of the Shougang Group, the nation's leading steel makers and the capital's major polluter, and temporarily or permanently shut down hundreds of factories that caused heavy pollution.

Neighboring cities and provinces also joined in the campaign by closing major polluters, removing high-emission cars from roads and restoring grassland vegetation.

As a result, the number of "blue sky" days in Beijing - an indicator of air quality - increased to 246 last year from 100 in 1998.

From July 20, more than three million automobiles in Beijing have been ordered to run on alternating days according to the last even or odd digit on the license plate, a move expected to reduce 60 percent of car emissions and ease traffic.

Engineers and technicians made a lot of innovations in the construction of Olympic venues such as the National Stadium and the Aquatic Center, which is an manifestation of "High-tech Olympics".

"To carry out the concept of the people's Olympics, we were people-oriented in designing and building venues. We also advocated civilized behavior among citizens, organized Olympic-related cultural activities in schools and to absorb volunteers from all walks of life," Beijing Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games president Liu Qi said earlier.

Liu also referred to the renovation of more than 600 ancient city alleyways, 400 old residential areas and 100-plus main streets in Beijing, which would improve living conditions for local people, especially low-income ones.

Beijing promised that traffic conditions would meet the demands of the Games, with the construction of roads and subways and upgrading of transport facilities.

With Terminal 3, the Beijing capital airport can handle up to 76 million passengers annually, more than double the previous capacity. The airport was expected to receive about 5.56 million people during the Games.

Three subway lines and a 28-kilometer light rail linking the downtown with the airport went into operation before the Games, extending the city's total length of track to 200 kilometers. At the same time, Beijing keeps the prices of public transport low.

Meanwhile, 34 special bus routes linking Games venues are operating during the event and they are free to those who have Olympic tickets.

Since the March 14 Lhasa riot, safety has been a major concern for the Games, but Beijing has 150,000 security guards plus 290,000 volunteers doing patrols.

Beijing also deploys security staff at hundreds of checkpoints on road entries to the city. The subway also carried out security checks.

As foreign media put nearly everything Chinese under the microscope during the 17 days, the government fulfilled its Olympic bid commitments and promised that reporters would be able to report the Games freely.

Addressing the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, Liu said, "The Chinese people, teeming with enthusiasm, have honored the commitments they solemnly made."

"The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games is a grand celebration of sport, a grand celebration of peace and a grand celebration of friendship," he said.

A week before the opening ceremony, President Hu pledged that China would continue to help foreign reporters' work after the Games. "China has always opened its door to the outside world," he said during an interview with journalists from 25 global media organizations.

China also lifted the ban on foreign publications as the Olympics drew near, which is an international practice and part of China's commitments to the Games.

About one hundred overseas newspapers and magazines went on sale on July 21 at news kiosks located in areas catering to athletes and international media covering the Olympics. And all the newsstands will run about 15 hours a day till the end of the Paralympics.

President Hu said that the Beijing Olympics would leave important material and spiritual legacies for China and the whole world.

He identified three spiritual legacies. The first is the promotion of the Olympic spirit of unity, friendship and peace. The second is the realization of the concept of the "Green Olympics, High-tech Olympics and People's Olympics". The third is the advancement of exchanges and learning among cultures of all the countries.

(Xinhua News Agency August 24, 2008)

Related Stories