China’s drive to host best Olympic games – Geoff Cumming

From the New Zealand Herald:

National pride apart, it’s difficult to see how residents in the hutongs will gain from China’s hosting of the the multi-billion-dollar 29th Olympic Games.

Shao Liu’s home is one of 11 clustered around a courtyard, extended families sharing a single toilet. Although vast swathes of hutong and siheyan (courtyard-style housing blocks) have been cleared under ’s juggernaut modernisation, this is still how many of the city’s 13 million residents live. These are not slums, but existence can be hand-to-mouth.

Stewing in a taxi that has crawled all of 100 metres in 10 minutes, or stumbling over hawkers in the subway, it’s tempting to wonder not what Beijingers will make of the Olympic Games but what the Olympic Games will make of Beijing.

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