SIGN UP

Should Beijing be allowed to host the 2008 Olympics

00:00 Mon 09th Jul 2001 |

asks Allan:

A. China is tipped to be the winner of the race to stage the 2008 Olympics - ahead of Paris, Toronto, Osaka and Istanbul. The decision will be made by the IOC on 13 July. Here are the pros and cons for Beijing staging the Games:

PROS

  • China will invest �20 billion in new buildings and infrastructure, including an 80,000-seat athletics and football stadium, a smaller indoor stadium, swimming centre and Olympic Village for 17,600 athletes and officials. All new structures will be energy efficient and use solar power.
  • Officials claim that, by 2007, 90% of the city's buses and 70% of its taxis will run on natural gas.
  • Five new subway lines will be built to reduce congestion.
  • Pollution will be reduced by moving factories out of the city or changing production methods.
  • Half of Beijing's residents will be able to speak at least 100 English phrases within ten years.
  • Two Protestant churches will soon be built in the city.

CONS

  • Pollution. When the IOC team arrived in Beijing last week, on a cold winter's day, the burning of coal had been banned. Normally, visibility would only be a few hundred yards because of the smog.
  • Human rights - China has a poor record. Last year alone, 1,000 people were publicly executed for a range of criminal offences. Tibetans are still treated as second-class citizens in their own occupied country. Internet caf�s are being monitored or closed in case they encourage 'subversive' thought.
  • Religious persecution: Falun Gong, a religious sect with millions of members worldwide, has been described by the authorities as 'an evil cult' and relentlessly repressed.

Q. Has China ever hosted a Games
A.
No, but it has only been taking part since 1984. Beijing was the hot favourite to win the 2000 Games, but it lost out to Sydney because of its human rights record.

Q. Has its human rights record improved since then
A. Err...no. Cynics might say that the opportunity to open up China for trade is just too great a temptation. Certainly none of the IOC's top sponsors, such Coca-Cola, American Express and Kodak, have expressed any unease about China staging the games.

Q.�So what does the British contingent think
A.
The IOC has two UK members: Craig Reedie and Princess Anne. Craig Reedie has said: 'The debate we're having is: do you enhance China's chances of improving their society by awarding them the Games or denying them 2008 '� Neither has said how they'll vote.

Q. Who is the closest rival

A. Toronto� - but its bid has been severely damaged by a recent comment by mayor Mel Lastman: just before leaving on a trip to Kenya, he said that he feared being cooked in a cauldron of boiling water while native Africans danced around him.

Do you think China should host the 2008 Olympics Post your opinion here

By Sheena Miller

Do you have a question about News?