The International Olympic Committee (IOC) released a report about evaluations of Beijing and Almaty on June 1. The report is based on investigations by IOC members who came to Beijing in March.
The report says that Beijing has achieved great performance in its preparations. For instance, Beijing has legacy of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, providing the city with many excellent basic infrastructures, including world-class stadiums, public entertainment facilities, a new international conference centre, and well-developed transportation systems.
The report also says that Winter Olympics would encourage 300 million people to participate in winter sports, and there’s strong financial support and security for a Winter Olympic Games.
However, Beijing has its disadvantages. One of them is the poor air quality, especially in winter.
For people living in Beijing and the surrounding regions such as Tianjin and Hebei Province, air pollution is very familiar. The poor air quality was no doubt unfit for holding a sport event like Olympic Games.
Last November, when APEC meeting was held in the city, the government temporarily shut down high-pollution factories in the surrounding areas and restricted the number of cars driving at streets, and finally successfully achieved much better air quality during the meeting. These measures, however, may not be feasible for a longer event like Olympic Games. At least, they are not real solutions.
Nevertheless, some good signs started to show. On the same day when the IOC evaluation report was released, Beijing announced the strictest smoking control order, forbidding all smoking in public areas. This forbidding order includes a particular gesture that indicts no smoking. This can be seen as an effort to improve the air quality and part of the efforts to win the Olympic bid.
Holding a Winter Olympic Game means much to China and Beijing, as well as ordinary citizens. Olympic Games can be an opportunity to improve disadvantageous aspects of society, and improve standard of life for common people.
Air pollution may be an obstacle for Beijing’s bid, but the city is dealing with it.