Beijing Olympics

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Andy Wong/AP
Dog meat has been struck from the menus of officially designated Olympic restaurants and
Beijing tourism officials are telling other outlets to discourage consumers from ordering
dishes made from
dogs. (AP)

Beijing Dumps Dog Meat for Olympics

July 17, 2008 03:00 PM
by Sarah Amandolare
Beijing is hustling to overhaul its image, removing dog meat from restaurant menus, while the world counts down the days until the opening ceremonies.

30-Second Summary

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With just three weeks to go before Olympians and spectators descend on the city, Beijing is working desperately to sanitize itself. Removing dog meat from the menus of designated Olympic restaurants is just one of many steps being taken to transform the city.

But Beijing is not the only Olympic city that has tried to hide its sore spots from the world.

During the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, a resident of the black and Latino neighborhood Watts told United Press International, “It’s like we’re walled off from the Olympics. They don’t want visitors to see us.”

Furthermore, a local tuxedo shop distributed 250 tuxedos and 90 pairs of shoes to the city’s homeless “in an effort to ‘dress up L.A.’ for the Olympics,” said Karen West of United Press International.

Similarly, during the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, much was “hidden or scrubbed off to make a good impression on NBC and the world,” reported Bernie Lincicome of the Chicago Tribune.

The 11th-hour clean-up efforts are widespread in Beijing. To limit pollution, drivers will only be allowed on the roads every other day, coinciding with new subway and rail lines opening later this week.

Additionally, recycling centers have been shut down and garbage pickers driven out—measures Beijing officials claim are necessary to ensure the health of Olympic visitors.

Residents are concerned that the societal elements deemed undesirable, and the qualities being altered or tossed aside, are what lend the city its character and charm. The new Beijing is false, they say.

Furthermore, ordinary residents of Beijing have been forcibly evicted from their homes to make room for Olympic venues and other new infrastructure, often without compensation.

While antipollution measures, such as emissions restrictions, are seen as positive changes, the entire Olympic preparation process is being questioned. If Beijing continues implementing strict security measures and close monitoring of journalists, the games could turn out to be a big headache, critics assert.

Headline Links: The final stretch cleanup

Audio: 'Is China's Approach to the Olympics too Strict?'

Background: Beijing buckles down

Related Topics: A laundry list of changes; dog meat and sports

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