Before Welcoming World, China Tries to Clear the Air – AP

Officials organizing the Beijing Olympics remain very concerned about air pollution during the 2008 Games and have dismissed concerns linking the Olympics to human rights issues:

Although pollution controls are having an effect ” Beijing experienced 241 days last year in which the air quality was rated as good, up from 100 in 1998 ” there is room for progress, Wang Wei, secretary general of the organizing committee, told a conference sponsored by Asia Society Southern California.

“We want to make sure the athletes have the best air quality,” he said.

In a later interview, Wang dismissed as “an old topic” international concerns about another area where China has an image problem ” human rights. [Full text]