Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad
September 6, 2007
International Paralympic Movement
The Paralympic Movement traces its roots to post-World War II Europe. After WWII, injured veterans used sports as a part of their physical rehabilitation program. In 1948, Sir Ludwig Gutmann organized a sports competition for WWII veterans at a state-run spinal cord injury center in Stoke Mandeville, England. In 1952, athletes from Holland participated in the competitions, turning the games into an international event. In 1960, 400 athletes with a disability from 23 countries participated in an international sports competition held in Rome. The International Olympic Committee would later officially recognize this competition as the first Paralympic Summer Games. In 1976, the first Paralympic Winter Games was held in Sweden.
Since 1960, twelve Paralympic Summer Games and nine Paralympic Winter Games have taken place.
International Paralympic Committee
The addition of different disability groups in the sports competitions resulted in the formation of international sports organizations for the disabled. On March 11, 1982, the International Coordinating Committee of World Sports Organizations for the Disabled (ICC) was established and was recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the governing body of sports for athletes with a disability. Supported by the International Fund Sport for Disabled (IFSD), the ICC and five other international organizations for persons with a disability formed the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) in 1989.
The IPC, a non-profit organization, has over 160 members. Its headquarters is located in Bonn , Germany and its official language is English. The current president of the IPC is Sir Philip Craven.
The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG)
BOCOG was established on December 13, 2001 and is the organizing committee for the 29th Olympic Games and the 13th Paralympic Games. It is responsible for organizing and implementing the preparations for and hosting the various events of the Beijing 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
BOCOG carries out the preparation work for the Paralympic Games according to the guidelines stated in the Olympic Host City Contract. It has a goal of hosting high-level Paralympic Games with distinguishing features and achieving equal splendor in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
BOCOG's different functional areas and teams, all have a two-fold responsibility of carrying out the preparations for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. BOCOG has also established a Paralympic Games department dedicated to coordinating the Paralympic Games preparations and liaison with the China Disabled Persons' Federation and IPC.
Summary of Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games
The 13th Paralympic Games will be held from September 6-17, 2008 in Beijing . An estimated 4,000 athletes from 150 countries and regions are expected to participate, along with 2,500 coaches, trainers, and technical officials. Also, approximately 4,000 press, photo, television and radio journalists, and relevant technicians are expected to cover the Games.
The Paralympic Games will consist of 20 sports with 471 disciplines. Goalball, boccia, and wheelchair rugby are unique events of the Paralympic Games. It will be the first time rowing will be included in the Paralympic Games program. The sailing events will be held in Qingdao , and the equestrian events in Hong Kong . The other events will take place in one of 18 competition venues in Beijing .
The slogan of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games is "One World One Dream"; the emblem is "Sky, Earth, and Human Beings"; the mascot is "Fu Niu Lele"; the concepts for promoting the Paralympic Games are Transcendence, Equality, and Integration.
Progress of the preparations for the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games
The IPC has confirmed the competition schedule by day for the Paralympic Games. The various International Sports Federations (IFs) is working on the competition schedule by session.
There have been 16 training sessions covering 12 topics held for over 600 technical officials for the Paralympic Games including competition judges and assistants. Training sessions in other areas have already been scheduled.
From September 13-16, 2007 the Good Luck Beijing 2007 International Goalball Tournament will be held at the Beijing University of Technology Gymnasium. In January 2008 the Good Luck Beijing 2008 Wheelchair Basketball International Invitational Tournament will take place at the National Indoor Stadium.
The Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games will have 20 competition venues including 18 venues in Beijing , one venue in Qingdao , and one venue in Hong Kong . Of the venues, 11 are newly constructed, four are converted from existing venues, and five are temporary.
In principle, the Paralympic Games will use the same competition venues and facilities as the Olympic Games. Non-competition venues and facilities include the Paralympic Village, the Paralympic Family Hotel, the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) and Main Press Center (MPC). Venue construction has progressed smoothly to present.
Venue construction follows the guidelines of the technical manuals on Paralympic Games venues. BOCOG employs IPC-recommended specialists to inspect and evaluate the accessibility designs at the various venues. The venue management teams, which oversee the operations for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, have Paralympic Games managers as part of the team. Regulations for services and operations will be released in September 2007.
Improvements will be made following the Good Luck Beijing 2007 International Goalball Tournament.
Accommodation: The Swissotel (Beijing) Hong Kong Macao Center, has signed to become the Paralympic Family Headquarters Hotel. It is 12 km from the Olympic Green, 23 km from the Capital Airport and has 440 rooms. It also offers 55 wheelchair accessible rooms. BOCOG has also designated 35 other preferred Paralympic hotels.
Aramark and the Beijing Tourism Group will be the catering service providers of the Paralympic Village, MPC and IBC. Five other Chinese caterers will provide services to the competition venue clusters. Local districts are responsible for the catering services at non-competition venues, independent training venues, and a few competition venues.
The Beijing Bo Ai Hospital will be the designated hospital of the Paralympic Games. BOCOG has developed medical services training manuals and has provided training for Paralympic medical managers. The initial stages of the development of Prosthetic & Orthotic and wheelchair service center have been completed. The main structure of the polyclinic has been completed, and construction will be completed at the end of 2007. The medical center's 19 department directors and main staff have already been determined, and the scope of their services has been defined.
There are currently 12 official partners, 10 sponsors, and four exclusive suppliers of the Paralympic Games. In addition, Coca Cola and other TOP sponsors will also support the Paralympic Games. Other non-Olympic sponsors have expressed interest in becoming sponsors of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games as well. The sponsorship sales will conclude before the end of 2007.
BOCOG has released over 100 different official Paralympic licensed products that have been well received by the public. On April 25, 2007, 80 sponsor representatives attended a seminar on the Paralympic brand value co-sponsored by BOCOG and the IPC.
Ticket sales for the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games will begin in October 2007 to coincide with the second phase of ticket sales for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and will use the same ticket sales system and channels as the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
A minimum of 1.5 million tickets is available for the Paralympic Games. Barrier-free seats for spectators and their accompanying guests will make up approximately 1.5 percent.
BOCOG will rely on the National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) and their designated sales agents to handle the Paralympic ticket sales overseas.
Paralympic Cultural Activities:
As part of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Cultural Festival, a cultural and art week for people with a disability is held every year. The culture and arts week includes exhibitions of calligraphy, paintings and folk art by persons with a disability, wheelchair taichi performance, film week, etc.
Celebration activities held to promote the release of the emblem, slogan, and mascot of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games have been broadcast live around the world.
Additionally, BOCOG has sponsored Paralympic knowledge contests, an online photo exhibition of sports for people with a disability in China, and published a book of conversational Paralympic Games English, etc. BOCOG also plans to produce television programs to promote the public's awareness of the Paralympic sports and the Chinese public's love and care of persons with a disability.
On September 6, 2007, the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games will hold a one-year countdown ceremony in the China Millennium Monument. At the ceremony, BOCOG will announce the Paralympic torch relay route and present invitation letters to NPCs. Top officials from the Chinese government, the International Paralympic Committee and BOCOG will be present at this event.
It is estimated that the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games will have 30,000 volunteers. Volunteer recruitment officially began on August 28, 2006. In January 2007, recruitment for volunteers outside of Beijing began. On March 28, 2007, recruitment for Hong Kong, Macao, Chinese Taipei and overseas volunteers was launched. By the end of July 2007, the number of applicants exceeded 500,000. Among them more than 80 percent have also applied as volunteers for the Paralympic Games.
From December 15-18, 2006, pilot projects for Paralympic volunteers were launched. Training sessions were arranged, and 60 students participated. On the official website of BOCOG, a volunteer training column was started and remote training technology and system plan for volunteers were also formulated.
In September 2006, BOCOG organized an observer delegation to visit Shanghai and Nanjing to gain experience. In May 2007, 17 volunteers provided services at the seventh national Paralympics in Yunnan Province. In the 500-day countdown to the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, BOCOG launched "Beijing University Students Volunteer for Paralympics Month," which achieved good social publicity and mobilization results.
Relations with IPC and IPSFs
In February 2007, Executive Vice President of BOCOG Mr. Liu Jingmin led a delegation to attend the first strategic working group meeting of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in Bonn, Germany.
In April, the IPC held the 46th Governing Board meeting in Beijing, and listened to reports on the progress of preparations for the Paralympic Games. IPC officials also inspected venues and the Paralympic Village. In July, a seminar between BOCOG and IPC counterpart functional areas was successfully held. Between September 5-7, 2007, the Paralympic chef de mission meeting is held at the Hong Kong and Macao Center, during which BOCOG makes presentations on the development of all aspects of preparations work.
In 2007 seven International Paralympic Sport Federations (IPSFs), including the IPSFs for athletics and cycling, officially visited BOCOG. BOCOG has also sent 11 competition managers to attend three activities organized by IPSFs. During the "Good Luck Beijing" sports events, technical delegates from IPSFs will be invited to China to observe the events.
BOCOG has reached agreement and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (principles) with the IPC and received a text of principles signed by 17 IPSFs. It has also signed parts of the Memorandum of Understanding's appended documents with IPSFs such as athletics, Boccia, Wheelchair Rugby, Wheelchair Basketball and Archery.
Achievements of China's development programs for people with a disability
Since the adoption of the reform and opening up policy, China has established more than 19,000 rehabilitation and service facilities for people with a disability. More than 13 million people with a disability have rehabilitated to a certain degree, and 1,662 special schools for people with a disability and more than 2,700 special education classes have been set up. School registration rates for children with visual or hearing impairment and children with an intellectual disability has increased from 6 percent in 1987 to almost 80 percent.
China has initially formed a special education system from preschool education to university-level education. There has also been increased development of vocational schools. There are more than 3,250 job training institutions, 3,048 employment service institutions and more than 2,570 rights protection and law service institutions. The employment rate of people with a disability is increasing steadily with more employment channels and better service. On May 1, 2007 employment regulation for people with a disability issued by the State Council was formally implemented.
Poverty relief projects and special poverty reduction programs help more than 10 million people with a disability in rural areas to escape from poverty. 11 million poverty-stricken people with a disability in both rural and urban areas were provided subsistence.
Cultural and sport activities for people with a disability have also been widely organized. The China's Disabled People's Performing Art Troupe has visited more than 40 countries and regions. They have become messengers of beauty and friendship. From 1984 till now, China has participated in six Paralympic Summer Games and won 143 gold medals. Most notably at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, China won 63 gold, 46 silver and 32 bronze medals -- a total of 141 medals. China ranked first with the number of gold and total medals. This is a glorious page in China's Paralympic history.
The Chinese government and the organizations for people with a disability actively participate in and promote international exchanges for people with a disability. They promote the formulation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and officially signed it in March 2007. China initiated and supported two "Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons" movements. Chairman Deng Pufang received UN Human Rights award.
Eleventh Five Year plan of China's development programs for people with a disability
In 2006, the State Council issued the Eleventh Five-Year Development Outline of China's programs for people with a disability. China decided to take effective methods to comprehensively realize the goal to allow all people with a disability access to rehabilitation services.
Through the implementation of key projects, 8.3 million people have rehabilitated to a certain degree. The central government will also help poverty-stricken people with a disability in rural areas to fight poverty. One million rural people with a disability in the central and western parts of China have received technological training. The living conditions for 320,000 rural people with a disability have improved. Impoverished people with a disability will be covered by social security to meet their basic living requirements.
China will also basically popularize compulsory education among children and youth with a disability. It will develop middle and high school vocational education and university-level education. All people with a disability who have employment demands will receive job guidance and training. An addition of 750,000 people with a disability has been employed in urban areas.
Cultural life for people with a disability has been further improved with public sport activities popularized. Since the outline was implemented more than one year ago, remarked progress has been made. All the targets have been met ahead of schedule.
Statistics on China's people with a disability
In 2006, China's second national census for people with a disability shows that the total number of people with a disability in China is 82.96 million, which accounts for 6.34 percent of the national population. The proportion of various disabilities in the total population of people with a disability is: 12.33 million people with a visual impairment, 14.86 percent of the total; 20.04 million people with a hearing impairment, 24.16 percent of the total; 1.27 million people with a vocal impairment, 1.53 percent of the total; 24.12 million people with a physical disability, 29.07 percent of the total; 5.54 million people with an intellectual disability, 6.68 percent of the total; 6.14 millions people with a psychological disability, 7.40 percent of the total; 13.52 million people with multiple disabilities, 16.30 percent of the total.
(China Development Gateway September 6, 2007)