Cablegate: Codel Stevens and Liu Qi Discuss Beijing Olympic

DE RUEHBJ #6514/01 2241013
O 121013Z AUG 06





E.O. 12958: N/A



1. (SBU) Codel Stevens, accompanied by the Ambassador,
met with Beijing Party Secretary and President of the
Beijing Organizing Committee for the 29th Olympiad
Games (BOCOG) Liu Qi to discuss Olympic preparations,
including security, venue construction, traffic
management, air quality, media, youth education and
ticket sales. End Summary.


2. (SBU) Codel Stevens, accompanied by the Ambassador,
visited the Olympic National Stadium (also known as
the Bird's Nest) and met with Beijing Party Secretary
Liu Qi on August 10. Senator Ted Stevens noted, given
his long relationship with the Olympic movement, that
he is anxious to help in any way to ensure that the
Beijing Olympic Games will be the best the world has
ever seen. Senator Stevens pointed to the increased
terrorism threat during the Salt Lake City Games as a
reason for China to remember the commitment by
terrorists to do harm during such a high-profile
event. He noted security measures the U.S. Government
had taken during the Salt Lake City Games. Observing
that a possible one-third of all visitors to the
Beijing Olympics could be American, Senator Stevens
encouraged the Chinese Government to call on the U.S.
Government if there is anything the United States can
do to assist China in protecting American and Chinese
citizens and others from terrorism.

Venue Construction and Usage

3. (U) Senator Patty Murray recalled the excitement
that had surrounded China's selection as host country
for the 2008 Summer Games and said 2008 will be a
tremendous opportunity to show the world what China
has to offer. She noted that many of her constituents
are interested in hearing about the venue sites and
transportation plans.

4. (U) Liu responded that this will be the first time
for China to host an Olympic Games. Organizers have
visited Athens, Sydney and Salt Lake City to learn
from previous host cities. China has done a thorough
study of previous games to learn from their
accomplishments as well as avoid their mistakes. One
of the lessons learned was the importance of planning
for venue utilization after the Olympiad. Liu
reported that there would be 37 venues constructed for
the Games, 31 in Beijing and six in the other cities
(Qingdao, Qinghuangdao, Shanghai, Shenyang, Tianjin
and Hong Kong). Of the Beijing venues, 11 are new
constructions, including four built on university
campuses to be used for collegiate sports after the
Games. The rest of the venues are temporary
structures or refurbished sports sites. Some of the
venues, including the National Aquatic Center (also
known as the Water Cube), will become public
recreational spaces after the games, he said.

Traffic Management

5. (U) Liu said traffic jams are prevalent in Beijing,
but the Chinese Government is preparing a traffic
management plan to improve traffic flow during the
Games. Beijing's traffic problems originated with its
initial public transportation plan and the city's
municipal traffic system. However, by 2008, the
Beijing Government plans to operate 280 kilometers of
metro lines and to implement a strategy to encourage
public transportation. The plan will encourage
citizens to leave private vehicles at home during the
work week and take public transportation during rush
hour. The Chinese Government has invested heavily in

BEIJING 00016514 002.2 OF 003

a master plan for Beijing transportation, including
improvements and additional construction of highways,
expressways and inter-city roadways. The Beijing
Government plans on using modern technology to improve
use of traffic lights and other components of the
traffic system.

6. (U) Liu said that an additional 1,000 small
personal vehicles are sold every day and the Beijing
Government needs to improve car sales management, but
Beijing already has a plan to monitor and lessen auto
emissions. Liu added that the International Olympic
Committee (IOC) has confirmed his assessment that
there will be no traffic problems during the 2008
Games. During the Games, there will be lanes
restricted for Olympic use, restrictions on personal
vehicle usage and a push to use public transportation.
Athletes, sports officials, and tourists will have no
transportation problems, Liu stated.

Air Quality

7. (U) Senator Norm Coleman remarked that it would be
a pity for Beijing's beautiful scenery to be obscured
by air pollution and inquired what the city is doing
to improve the environment. Liu agreed that air
quality and environmental protection will be critical
to a successful Olympics. The Beijing Government has
prepared 12 environmental plans since 1998 to promote
air quality improvement. Liu suggested that 65
percent of the days in 2006 would have good air
quality, up one percent from 2005. A drought in
Mongolia and Inner Mongolia that caused more frequent
sandstorms to blow into Beijing had prevented more
dramatic improvement.

8. (U) There are three parts to Beijing's air quality
improvement plan. The first is to increase internal
controls over the 9000-plus construction sites in and
around Beijing, ensuring there will be less dust
pollution by 2008. Second, industrial and coal
burning enterprises are being moved outside the city,
making room for high-tech companies, which will help
lessen pollution. Liu used the example of the Capital
Iron and Steel Factory, which has an annual production
capacity of eight million tons of steel, being moved
from Beijing to Bohai to illustrate his point. Third,
Beijing is encouraging energy conservation. In 2006,
Beijing is expected to use 4.2 billion cubic meters of
natural gas instead of coal, which will help reduce
sulfur dioxide emissions. He noted that this is ten
times less coal than was used last year. Beijing
currently adheres to Europe 3 car emission standards
and may move to Europe 4 standards by 2008.

Media Participation

9. (U) Senator Lamar Alexander commented that the
Olympics will be a wonderful time to show the rest of
the world not just Beijing but all of China. He added
that China may be surprised by the large number of
media-affiliated individuals who come to China to
cover the Games. He urged that they be allowed to
operate freely.

Public Education

10. (U) Liu responded that with an estimated 500,000
foreign spectators expected in 2008, the Olympics are
indeed China's opportunity to showcase its long
history, dynamic civilization and beautiful scenery.
The Games will also be a chance to combine Eastern and
Western culture. While the Olympics originated in
Greece, the Games arenow being held in Asia.

11. (U) BOCOG has developed a youth Olympic education
program that will involve 400 million children,
according to Liu. The goal of the campaign is to
spread knowledge of the Olympic movement. This will
be the best popularization campaign the Olympic Games

BEIJING 00016514 003 OF 003

have ever seen, Liu predicted. Educational materials
have been distributed among elementary and middle
schools. Textbooks have also been developed for
students from the elementary through university
levels, he said.

Ticket Distribution

12. (U) Liu answered Senator Mark Dayton's question
regarding ticket distribution by stating that there
will be 900 million tickets available, of which 700
million will be sold and distributed through various
countries, National Olympic Committees. After IOC's
approval of BOCOG's ticket distribution plan in the
latter half of 2006, BOCOG expects to make tickets
available to its purchase priority clients (i.e.
Olympic sponsors and other Olympic-related
organizations). Ticket sales to the public will begin
in 2007.

Looking to 2008

13. (U) Senator Stevens stated that the United States
is prepared to coordinate with China on lessons
learned from the Olympics in Atlanta and Salt Lake
City. He complimented Liu on China's progress on
Olympic preparations, remarking that China's
preparations are advanced compared to other host
countries during the same period. He added that
during his discussions with the Vice Chairman and
Secretary General of the 10th National People's

Congress (NPC) Sheng Huaren, they had discussed
lessons learned from the Athens Olympics. During his
discussion with NPC leadership, both sides had agreed
to return for meetings the week before opening
ceremonies in August 2008. He expressed the hope that
members of the Inter-Parliamentary Exchange would be
in China for part of the Games.

14. (U) Senator Thad Cochran congratulated Liu on
China's investment to make the Olympics a success. He
added that the fact that China had been selected to
host the 2008 Summer Games was a great compliment. It
is now up to the Chinese leadership to exercise
responsibility in making the Olympics a great success.
Senator Richard Burr concurred, noting that the
American people look forward to seeing the Beijing
2008 games, an opportunity for China to present itself
to the world and for the world's greatest athletes to


15. (U) U.S. Participants:

Senator Ted Stevens
Ambassador Clark T. Randt, Jr.
Senator Patty Murray
Senator Thad Cochran
Senator Arlen Specter
Senator Mark Dayton
Senator Lamar Alexander
Senator Norm Coleman
Senator Richard Burr
Embassy Olympics Coordinator
Embassy Notetaker

Chinese participants:

BOCOG Chairman Liu Qi
NPC Foreign Affairs Committee Vice Chairman Lu Congmin
BOCOG Vice Chairman Wang Wei
Chinese Embassy in Washington Counselor Chen Guomin
NPC Foreign Affairs Committee DDG Hong Yingchun

16. (U) This cable was cleared by CODEL Stevens.

© Scoop Media

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