sharing the Olympic spirit

Officials detail plans for better Games, city
By Xie Chuanjiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-01-24 07:46


Less than 200 days to go for the Olympic Games. The adrenalin is pumping a bit faster, with every political advisor, lawmaker and government official trying to get things right to the last detail. The objective: to ensure a successful and high-quality Games.

Political advisors, lawmakers and government officials are trying to get things right to the last detail as only less than 200 days to go for the Olympic Games.

More than 12 percent of the 1,188 proposals submitted by 729 members of the Beijing Municipal Committee (BMC) of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) were related to the Games. And they ranged from transport and toilets to culture and entertainment.

Less cars on the road

Beijing will withdraw more than half of its 3 million cars from the roads during the Olympics to ensure better air quality and improve the flow of traffic, deputy director of Beijing Municipal Committee of Communications Liu Xiaoming told a panel discussion at the ongoing first session of the 11th BMC.

The traffic plans for the Olympics and Paralympics, to be held in August and September, have been completed, Liu said.

Public transport will operate more efficiently and carry more passengers during the Games, with 173 bus routes and special lanes for Olympics-related vehicles. And more metro trains, some of which will not stop at all stations, are likely to be introduced to deal with passenger rush.

Also, the local government will stagger working hours and change the timings for commercial businesses to ease traffic jams during normal peak hours.

Public toilets

"Beijing has long been short of public toilet signs," Beijing International City Development Research Institute President Lian Yuming said. He suggested the city issue a brochure or a map of public toilets and make toilet signs more prominent.

"We should have such signboards at every 500 meters in major streets, and areas frequented by tourists. They should tell where exactly a toilet is," Lian told a panel discussion.

Beijing Municipal Administration Commission Deputy Director Chai Wenzhong said the public toilets at and near Olympic venues will be ready before August.

Chai's department has just bought a number of high-quality movable toilets. "They will be installed in places that are generally frequented by a lot of people," especially foreigners.

Train services

Head of Beijing Railway Station Bureau An Luqin said all necessary measures will be taken to ensure order at Beijing's two railway stations for long distance trains during the Games.

The department has already installed eight big elevators to help passengers get in and out of the stations more easily.

"We are fully prepared to increase the number of trains whenever the Beijing Olympic Committee (BOCOG) requests in order to ensure athletes and spectators reach their destination cities on time."

Sightseeing buses

Xiao Mingzheng, a member of China Democratic Promotion Party's Beiing committee, suggested that special sightseeing routes be provided for Olympic visitors. The existing transport facilities for a visit to Olympic sites are not up to the mark.

"People have to either take taxis or buses, causing more traffic jams. Moreover, traveling to these sites now takes a longer time," Xiao said. And many taxi drivers know little about the venues.

He suggested every passenger be ensured of a seat on a bus, and that an automatic translation and illustration machine be installed beside each seat.

26 cultural squares

BOCOG plans to set up 26 cultural squares in the city where residents and visitors alike can watch the greatest sports event on giant TV screens.

Big screens will be installed at the squares and will beam the Olympic events live. Also, exhibitions and other Olympic-related performances will be held at the squares.

People will have free access to these squares, which will be open from June 23 to the end of the Paralympic Games in September, director of the BOCOG's cultural activities department Zhao Dongming said.

Peking Opera

Deputy director of the Beijing Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang Li Aijun suggested holding Peking Opera performances with English translations during the Games.

A Peking Opera lover herself, Li said translation services should be provided to foreigners attending such shows to help them better understand the nuances of Chinese culture.

"Many Peking Opera pieces have fixed lyrics, so we can pre-record the English translations and play them during performances," she said.

Chinese lanterns show

Head of Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture Jiang Gongmin said the city will bring together a collection of Chinese lanterns from provinces such as Fujian, Sichuan, Shanxi, Yunnan and Guizhou to organize lantern shows in order to create a special atmosphere during the Games.

The department will also hold a number of other cultural events at the Beijing Cultural Palace of Nationalities.

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