WOW -Witness Our World- Photographer Hiroshi Yamauchi
Countdown Beijing Beijing CHINA 2007

The world will see a gala by a nation that has been talked about as the greatest potential in terms of both geopolitical and economical powers for the past few decades.
At 8 p.m. local time on August 8th, 2008, the torch will be lit and the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China, will be on television monitors all over the globe.
The successors of one of the most ancient civilizations, Beijing now has a chance to show its ways of welcoming, hosting, and giving equal opportunities to athletes and spectators from every corner of the world.
Stadiums, arenas and hotels are under construction through days and nights, streets are widened, tunnels are dug to open up new subway lines, infrastructures including broadband internet connections are set up like an underground web, and representatives of foreign venues sign contract papers to open branch offices in desperate hope to penetrate the capital city of the world’s biggest market and factory.
Some of the Beijiners say that this must be the biggest operation ever taking place since the order of the construction of the Great Walls by the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty.
A survey says 96% of Beijing residents are proud and support the city hosting the Olympic.
Then one might think. Do all Beijing residents benefit from the Olympic hype?
As seen in all kinds of drastic operations, there are certainly some side effects.
One obvious example is the soaring land price.
The city and private land developers are buying suburb residential areas, crowded with old traditional housing units called Hutongs with a kind of money not enough for residents to settle down in new environments.
High-risen apartments are built after Hutongs are taken down, and sold to newly rich Chinese who have annual income more than ten times as much as average.
Those who lost their houses and court battles are forced out with little compensation for removal.
Most of them have to depend on relatives living outside Beijing.
Another group of people in Beijing who are affected by the hype is the peasant workers.
Coming to the capital in big hope to earn quick money, they are the main labor force in construction sites all over the city. Most of them are from rural provinces who had to spend few days of train rides to Beijing.
The safety standards for construction workers are not the best.
Life expense in the hottest city in China is eating up their savings.
Their children cannot stay in primary education institutes because tuitions are too high.
And the most ironical part is that as soon as city officials cut the tapes at grand opening ceremony of whatever they are building now, they will have to leave Beijing because the city will be too much for them to stay. With all excitement and skepticism over the first Olympic games ever held in the capital of a “developing” country, a country led by one party Communist dictatorship with yet experimental market economy theory, critics and controversialists are busy listing the pros and cons of Beijing today.
As the home ground of chairman Mao and his Chinese Communist Party elites, if the city government still puts out the ideology of the communism highly, Beijing shall unite its people during one of the world’s most popular events.
A slogan for Olympic games reads: To participate is greater than to win.

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