Will a Changed China Emerge From the Olympics?
The San Francisco Chronicle is launching, “a series of stories over the next several months that will explore the changes China’s first Olympic Games are bringing to Beijing and the rest of the nation.” From the first dispatch in the series:
China’s first-ever Olympics are a fairly safe gamble in the realm of world politics. Although the risk of overwhelming pollution, political protests and traffic gridlock could mar the August event, the rewards – namely China assuming its place in the world’s collective conscience as a global power – are apt to win out in the end, many China watchers say.
…Given the size and scope of the Games, there is little doubt they are intended to inspire respect, admiration and perhaps even awe in the eyes of the world. The numbers are impressive on a scale that only the world’s most populous country could muster. Construction of sports venues alone, not counting the mind-boggling projects that overwhelm every corner of the capital, cost $1.8 billion. A maze of new roads and 50 miles of subway lines cost another $35 billion.