Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Grayish-Brown is the New Green

Who again thought it would be a good idea for Beijing to host the Olympic games?

Beijing and co-host Olympic city Hong Kong were Monday blanketed in smog just 11 days before the Games, raising the stakes for organisers who were planning more emergency measures to clear the air.

Despite years of efforts to rid the Chinese capital of its notorious pollution and a raft of recent attempts at quick fixes, a typically thick haze cut visibility across Beijing to a few hundred metres.

With some athletes already training in Beijing and elsewhere in China, the persistent pollution was jeopardising China's promise of a "Green Games."
But worry not. China's government is well aware of the problem and is stepping forward with the same heavy-handedness that has for so long endeared it to multinational corporations and cheap labor enthusiasts everywhere:
Last week Beijing ordered more than a million of the nation's 3.3 million cars from the roads and closed dozens of polluting factories, apparently with little impact.

In a last-ditch bid to clear the skies before the Games start on August 8, the state-run China Daily newspaper said the government may ban 90 percent of private cars and close more factories.

... [T]he Beijing Olympics organising committee said it was still confident athletes would have little to worry about in regards to pollution.

"With the measures we have taken, we are fully confident that we can ensure clean air for the Games," committee spokesman Sun Weide told AFP, adding some of the solutions would need more time to show results.
Who would gainsay such assurances? Certainly no one who doesn't want to wake up in preventive detention or worse. And as for any distance runners, footballers, cyclists, or, you know, anyone else whose sporting event calls for heavy breathing, a word to the wise: China expects you to be at your best, as its national image is at stake here. No coughing, no redness in the eyes, and certainly no complaining, either on camera or off. For their part, the media conglomerates providing coverage of the games will do everything possible to keep things happy and light in keeping with China's wishes, and you'll be wise to join them.

Play ball.

(Photo source)


Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Well, if all that doesn't work they'll just use an old standby: they'll take the smog out and have it shot.

Linda - Nickers and Ink said...

LOL at Samuel.

Fascinating update here.

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