Special authority sought for Olympics

By Li Fangchao (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-07-27 06:51

Beijing's municipal government yesterday asked the city's top legislature to give it the power to take whatever temporary measures are necessary to respond to unexpected problems before and during the Olympic Games.

Speaking at the 37th session of the 12th Standing Committee of the Beijing Municipal People's Congress, Zhou Jidong, director of the legal affairs office of the Beijing municipal government, said the city had started to contemplate the legislative work needed to accommodate the Games as soon as it won the hosting right in 2001.

The city has mulled or revised numerous regulations, ranging from protecting Olympic intellectual property rights to the environment and sanitation.

However, as the preparatory work got underway, the government realized that the work involves every aspect of the operation and management of the city, he said.

"Even though we have done everything we can to make forecasts and carry out analysis and research, we may still encounter some individual cases that are not covered by law," he said.

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"Thus, we suggest the Standing Committee grant the municipal government the power to address these problems without contradicting the principles of local regulations," he said.

Zhou said such authority could be confined to key areas, such as public security, traffic, workplace safety, environment protection and food safety.

Wang Jiayan, director of the legal affairs office of the Standing Committee, said the request was justified.

"The preparations for the Olympics, which are now the paramount work of Beijing, need a sound legal environment," he said.

Meanwhile, the Standing Committee yesterday urged the municipal government to alleviate the city's notorious traffic congestion.

The city should optimize its roads, encourage more people to take buses and assess the impact of large-scale building projects on transportation, said Zhao Fengshan, deputy director of the Standing Committee.

Zhao said an inspection this year showed that traffic safety conditions were poor, and that the crowding situation was little improved.

People still violate traffic rules. More than 9 million violations were punished in the city last year, he said.

And traffic jams remain serious. Congestion is spreading and jams last longer, especially during rush hours and bad weather, he said.

Zhao added that the traffic situation near the airport is worrying.

He also said the city should continue to encourage people to take public transportation by optimizing bus routes and creating special bus lanes.

(China Daily 07/27/2007 page3)

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