Perception Is China’s Olympic Competition

From Chicago Tribune:

Decades in the making, China’s march to the Olympics is nearly complete, but one might never have imagined that preparations would reach as far into the corners of Chinese daily life as this: a gymnasium on an obscure college campus in the capital.

For years the Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture opened its small gym to neighbors, mostly retirees who slipped in at dawn to hang from the chin-up bars and pad around the track.

But, with just three weeks until the opening of the Olympics on Aug. 8, a sign appeared last week, pasted beside the gym door: “According to the requirements of the ‘Beijing College Work Plan for a Safe and Sound Olympics’… The school sports center has ceased functioning. Outsiders are not permitted to enter the school to exercise.”

“What does our gym have to do with the Olympics?” asked a 62-year-old gymgoer, who asked not to be identified because of Chinese authorities’ sensitivity about the Games. “Not letting me exercise seems contrary to the Olympic spirit.”

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