NEWS

Many Chinese expect the 2008 events will enhance the country’s prestige abroad

«As long as the tickets are not too highly priced, I would like to go to watch the high-level Olympic competition at the venue,» Chen Qiuying, a civil servant in Xiamen City of Southeast China’s Fujian Province, told China Features on the phone. Many people like Chen are eager to get a ticket to the Games. This might test the city’s infrastructure capacity, since Beijing has some 15 million residents. Campaigns have been launched to improve etiquette. A three-year campaign is helping some locals fight bad habits, such as spitting, jaywalking, and talking too loudly in public. It focuses not only on daily social manners, but also proper ways to communicate with foreigners and get to know their cultures. The campaign was launched by the Beijing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China, the Beijing Municipal Government and the Capital Ethic Development Office in January 2005. China is also promoting Olympic knowledge among the public. The Games organizers have compiled books about the Olympics and will distribute the books in about 500,000 schools across the country with some 400 million students. Most local residents of the host city see benefits in hosting the Games, according to a survey released in July by the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences (BASS). More than 70 percent of those surveyed believe hosting the 2008 Olympics can help raise the international prestige of the Chinese capital, and 42 percent say the event is conducive to enhancing the cultural awareness of the locals. About 41 percent believe the city’s infrastructure and environment would improve through the Games, and 37 percent expect the city’s employment rate to increase. BASS researchers Nian Wei and Wen Boneng did the survey last year. It covered a community in downtown Beijing that had «typical characteristics» of ordinary residents in the city, they said. Nian also predicted the average ticket price for the 2008 Games could be between 20 and 30 US dollars. About 7 million tickets will be available for the public during the 2008 Olympics. The organizers will start selling tickets to contracted corporate clients in September, and to the public in the first half of 2007, BOCOG President Liu Qi has told the press. Liu said the BOCOG will unveil the prices for the Games pending final approval from the International Olympic Committee, and the tickets would be moderately priced so that more people could afford to watch the Olympic matches live. Working at an Olympic construction site in the Beijing Science and Technology University, a migrant worker surnamed Li said he would never be able to afford to sit in the gym he is building now to watch the exciting Games. «I earn about 50 yuan (6 US dollars) a day. We could not afford that,» said Li, who came from Central China’s Henan Province to work as a carpenter. «One world, one dream? That’s a good theme. But now my only dream is to make my children live better than I do through my work.» (1) China Features, which is affiliated with the state-run Xinhua News Agency of the People’s Republic of China, provides features to overseas print media. This is the first in a series of articles about the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.