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Mayor fears Olympics expectations too high
Updated: 2004-11-12 15:13

Beijing's mayor is worried the 2008 Olympics might suffer from overblown expectations from enthusiastic Chinese fans.

Beijing Mayor Wang Qishan gave a speech on the 2008 Olympics preparation work. [sohu]
China is staking its national prestige on the games, promising a huge building program for sports venues and improvements to the capital's subways and other facilities.

"These kinds of expectations should be treated as a burden," Mayor Wang Qishan said in Thursday's edition of the weekly newspaper Southern Weekend.

Wang also expressed disdain for Chinese fans who booed during the Japanese national anthem during the Asian Cup soccer tournament in August, hinting he feared a repeat in 2008.

During Japan's victory over China in soccer final, spectators "created such an uproar during the anthem that it couldn't be heard at all," the mayor said. Chinese supporters also pelted Japanese fans with garbage and hung banners protesting Japan's World War II aggression against China.

The mayor criticized construction plans, arguing that the $360 million National Stadium under construction should serve more uses. The stadium is to hold the opening and closing ceremonies as well as track and field events. Wang said it should host soccer games, too.

Wang already has ordered organizers to scale back construction plans, calling for a "frugal Olympics." But at the same time, he told Southern Weekend that cutting costs means the main stadium will be roofless a danger if it rains.

Organizers have slowed their frantic pace of stadium construction after advice from the International Olympic Committee. They also have reduced the number of new venues to be built following fears that costs might spiral out of control.

Beijing expects to spend $2 billion on sports venues, plus $24.2 billion on new subway lines, roads and other facilities by 2008.

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