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Cablegate: Press Briefing On Olympics Held October 19 On

VZCZCXRO4247
OO RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHBJ #6760/01 2921219
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 191219Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY BEIJING
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2935
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 BEIJING 006760

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DS/P/MECU FOR JOHN HURLEY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KOLY CH
SUBJECT: PRESS BRIEFING ON OLYMPICS HELD OCTOBER 19 ON
MARGINS OF 17TH PARTY CONGRESS


SUMMARY
-------

1. A briefing on next year's Olympic Games was held October
19 as part of the series of press conferences staged in
conjunction with China's ongoing 17th Communist Party
Congrss. Liu Jingmin, who serves both as Beijing Vce
Mayor and Executive Vice President of the Beijing Organizing
Committee for the 29th Olympiad Games (BOCOG), emphasized to
reporters that possible boycotts and political linkages to
the Games are "inappropriate." Liu explained the costs of
the Games and their impact on both Beijing and China as a
whole and described how the Olympics will purportedly promote
human rights in China. Other topics addressed include
Olympic security, efforts to host a "Green Olympics,"
legislative changes associated with the Games and efforts to
cultivate sportsmanship and involvement by overseas Chinese.
An Olympics fact sheet provided by BOCOG is appended below.
End Summary.

Political Linkages to Olympics "Inappropriate"
--------------------------------------------- -

2. At the October 19 press briefing, attended by a large
contingent of foreign and domestic press as well as Poloff,
Beijing Vice Mayor and BOCOG VP Liu Jingmin was asked if he
was concerned that the crackdown on democratic voices in
Burma would lead to an international call for an Olympic
boycott. Liu said political and other non-Olympic related
issues should not be linked to the Olympic Games. Referring
to Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) statements on Burma, Liu
noted that China plays a "responsible and constructive" role.
Political linkages to the Games would be "inappropriate" and
would "fail to capture public support."

Possible Personnel Changes Won't Impact Games
---------------------------------------------

3. Liu was asked whether possible changes in China's top
leadership following the Party Congress would impact Olympic
preparations, especially if Beijing Mayor Wang Qishan were
promoted. Liu said he was unaware of any upcoming personnel
shifts. BOCOG had enjoyed stable leadership over the years,
and each BOCOG executive member is assigned a specific
portfolio, which means that even with leadership changes
there will be "no impact" on preparations for the Games.

Costs
-----

4. Olympic-related costs have grown from the USD 1.6 billion
estimated during Beijing's 2001 bid to USD two billion. The
Vice Mayor attributed the increase to additional security
costs and fluctuations in the exchange rate. Liu noted that
Beijing's total costs were still under the USD 2.4 billion
Athens spent to host the Olympics. He added that the
International Olympic Committee (IOC) required three budget
estimates and that a third and final estimate would be
forthcoming from BOCOG.

Impact of Olympics on Beijing
-----------------------------

5. The Olympics will increase Beijing's international
profile, promote international cooperation and establish
Beijing as a historical and international city, Liu said. He
noted that foreign investment had expanded and that many
multinational and domestic companies have established
headquarters in Beijing. The Olympics has also helped
Beijing create a new urban plan that addresses long-term
issues linked to the environment and traffic. Finally, the
Olympics has raised "civility and good manners" amongst city
residents through increased training in the service industry
and foreign language study. Liu stated that over four
million people had started learning a foreign language over
the past few years in preparation for the Olympics.

6. From the 2001 bid to 2006, the Olympics had boosted
Beijing's economy in the following areas: A) GDP has grown
by an average of 12.1 percent per year; B) Per capita income
is now USD 6300, which is 1.9 times greater than in 2001; C)
3.9 million tourists visited Beijing in 2006, an increase of
one million since 2001; D) 600,000 new jobs were created in
Beijing in 2006. Liu noted that while Beijing residents were
the primary beneficiaries of Olympic preparations and the
resulting increase in living standards, the rest of the
Chinese people were also experiencing improved living
conditions.


BEIJING 00006760 002 OF 005


7. Liu said he hoped that, through hosting the Games, China
can convey to the world the impression of a China that is
rapidly growing and developing and that is committed to peace
and common prosperity. He added that China is a key part of
the world and hopes the Olympics will also be a way to share
China's culture. While the IOC uses the term "best games in
history" at the conclusion of every Olympics to signal its
approval, the Chinese preferred to use the term, "high-level
Olympic Games with distinguishing features."

Promoting Human Rights and Democracy
------------------------------------

8. A reporter inquired how the Olympics would help promote
democracy and human rights in China, in keeping with
President Hu Jintao's Political Report to the 17th Party
Congress. Liu responded that the Chinese Olympic Bid
Committee promised the IOC in 2001 that the Beijing Olympics
would "tremendously improve and facilitate the economy,
society and culture in Beijing and China." Liu added that
this promise included the development of human rights in
China, which he said had been "tremendously boosted." As an
example of increased solicitation of public sentiment and
democracy, Vice Mayor Liu pointed out that the emblem, mascot
and slogan selections, as well as stadium designs, had all
solicited public opinion. He added that every six months,
BOCOG conducts a comprehensive survey of the population so
that Olympic preparations better reflect the wishes of the
Chinese people. Liu also noted that the State Council's
Olympic regulations on foreign reporting fulfilled another
Chinese promise to the IOC.

Security Planning
-----------------

9. Asked about security planning, Liu noted that BOCOG would
"absolutely guarantee" a safe and peaceful games. He
described the Olympic security apparatus, starting with a
high-level command and control system. Liu stated that the
Ministry of Public Security leads the interagency effort on
Olympic security, which includes the People's Armed Police.
The interagency security coordination group "covers all areas
and is a flexible system that can respond at a moment's
notice." The group has also developed a comprehensive
security plan which was based on research of all past
Olympics and their respective security incidents.
Specifically, the group has formulated and implemented
strategic plans for venue security, fire safety,
counterterrorism, riot control and VIP protection. Liu added
that security had been included in overall Olympic planning,
from stadium design and construction to the use of technology
such as radio frequency identification (RFID) in all tickets.
He concluded that security was a joint effort since the
Olympics was an international event and to that end the
Chinese had increased cooperation with the security
organizations from the former host countries, international
security organizations, participating countries' security
teams and Embassies.

Green Olympics
--------------

10. When questioned about BOCOG's commitment to a "Green
Olympics," Liu began by reaffirming that BOCOG had made a
promise in their bid to host a "green" Games. BOCOG has a
two-pronged approach: 1) Olympic preparations are green with
minimal impact on the environment and 2) the Games facilitate
environmental protection and sustainable development of the
host cities. During Olympic preparations, BOCOG requires
that venue construction use pollution-free materials and
environmentally friendly construction methods. Olympic
sponsors must meet BOCOG environmental standards and have a
consistent record of complying with environmental
regulations. The hundreds of contract hotels must follow a
"Green Service Guide" that includes reducing water usage and
keeping a set temperature during the summer. Food products
served in Olympic venues must be pollution-free. Regarding
transportation, the public is encouraged to use public
transport and vehicles must meet emissions standards. (Note:
none of these standards were explained in detail.)

11. In terms of facilitating sustainable development, the
Olympics are helping Beijing increase the use of clean energy
and reduce emissions, Liu said. Liu commented that of the
16,000 coal boilers under 20 tons in Beijing, 15,000 had been
converted to use natural gas. Qinghe Wastewater Treatment
plant was using the heat from wastewater to provide heating
in the athlete's village and a 6,000 square meter solar water
heating system will heat athlete's showers in the Olympic

BEIJING 00006760 003 OF 005


Green. Beijing has also installed a wind power field in the
northern part of the city.

12. Liu commented that being green requires investment and
advanced technology, as well as a change in lifestyle, which
takes time. He added that the Chinese Environmental
Protection Agency (CEPA) and the United Nations Environmental
Program (UNEP) were working on increasing environmental
education through the Olympics. Just a few days ago, CEPA
experts began working on a study of Beijing's surrounding
environment to see its impact on Beijing pollution.

13. Asked whether factories will be shut down to ensure clean
air, similar to what reportedly has been done during the
ongoing Party Congress, Liu attributed the blue skies of the
past week to a "strong northern wind" rather than the
shutting down of factories. Liu noted that, like other
cities during their initial industrialization period,
Beijing's factories were in the center of the city. However,
167 companies, such as Capital Steel, have begun to move to
the city outskirts and reduce pollution through technological
enhancements. Liu also said that per President Hu's
statement on sustainable development in China,
industrialization cannot be at the cost of the environment.
China must achieve sustainable development.

Good Sports
-----------

14. Responding to comments that Chinese fans had booed the
Japanese Women's Soccer Team during the Women's World Cup,
Liu noted that the Chinese Government was trying to
"extensively educate" the public through 1) encouraging more
people to attend competitions, 2) become familiar with the
technicalities of different sports, such as when to clap and
3) encourage cheering for any good performance regardless of
country. He noted that he has seen an improvement in crowd
behavior over the 19 test events and that International
Sporting Federations and athletes had commented positively on
audience participation.

Olympics-Related Legislation
----------------------------

15. Asked about impending legislation specifically related to
the Olympic Games, Liu merely replied that China had tried to
"perfect" its laws in the past few years. He said there will
be no new major legislation associated with the Games, but
rather creation of regulations to overcome "deficiencies in
current laws." He cited the State Council's Regulations on
Foreign Reporting as an example. He added that Chinese laws
were based on international standards and met the IOC's
requirements for successful games. He pointed to possible
new regulations to augment administrative issues and
commented that emblem IPR laws were being "vigorously
enforced" by Chinese law enforcement.

Overseas Chinese Involvement
----------------------------

16. There are 600 million overseas Chinese, Liu said, many of
whom played a role in the development of Beijing and China
over the years. For the Olympics, overseas Chinese have
already contributed RMB 830 million (USD 111 million) toward
the construction of the National Aquatics Center, making it a
"souvenir trophy" to the overseas Chinese support of the
Olympics.

BOCOG Fact Sheet
----------------

17. Below are the summarized contents of a BOCOG Fact Sheet
that was distributed at today's press event:

-- Most Olympic venues and relevant facilities have been
completed. 27 venues, including the Beijing Shooting Hall
and Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park. The National
Stadium opening is delayed until March 2008 due to additional
technical requirements for the Opening Ceremony. The media
and Olympic villages will also open in 2008.

-- There are 64 corporations sponsoring the Beijing Olympic
Games and the State Council has issued "Regulations on the
Protection of Olympic Symbols" to raise awareness of IPR
protection.

-- The plans for the Opening and Closing ceremonies have been
finalized and rehearsals are in progress.


BEIJING 00006760 004 OF 005


-- The Torch Relay route has been finalized. Using the theme
"Journey of Harmony" the torch will travel through 113
mainland cities in 31 provinces, including the summit of
Mount Everest. 20,000 ut of 21,880 torchbearers have been
selected. Provincial, local, and autonomous region
governments will supervise the torch relay.

-- The first phase of ticket sales has been completed. Seven
million tickets are for sale. During phase one, 1.59 million
tickets were allocated, including 26,000 tickets for the
Opening and Closing ceremonies. The average price of tickets
is 43 percent lower than that of the Athens game. Phase two
begins at the end of October.

-- Good Luck Beijing, the Olympic Test Events, are ongoing.
19 of the 26 events planned for 2007 have been completed.
"In general" venues meet the needs of Olympic Games according
to Liu. (Comment: American corporate sponsors indicate that
logistically, the test events failed to test venue
capabilities to withstand Olympic-size crowds, as only 30
percent of test event seating was sold to the public. End
comment.)

-- 670,000 people have applied to be Olympic volunteers.
100,000 volunteers are required, including 30,000 specialized
volunteers for the dignitary program, language services,
driving services, media operations, competition organization,
sports presentation and ceremonies. 24,000 people have been
selected thus far and are receiving training. 6,000
volunteers participated in the 2007 test events.

-- The Paralympics have 27 local and overseas sponsors. The
Paralympic torch relay will pass 20 cities in and outside
China and be the first international torch relay in
Paralympic history. There was only one test event, the
International Goalball Tournament, held from September 13-16.


-- Olympic conventions have been observed in accordance with
International Olympic Committee (IOC) regulations --
including foreign media access. BOCOG and the IOC
Coordination Commission held eight plenary meetings and nine
project reviews. BOCOG hosted the World Broadcaster
Meetings, World Press Briefings, Sponsor Workshops, and Chefs
de Mission Seminars. The State Council enacted "Regulations
on Reporting Activities in China by Foreign Journalists
during the Beijing Olympic Games and the Preparatory Period"
and the Service Guide for Foreign Journalists.

-- Environmental Standards have improved "remarkably" through
the "Green Olympics" program. In 2006, 66 percent of the
days in the year were "blue sky" days, 17.6 percent more than
in 2000. There has been a 42.5 percent increase in urban
green coverage. The Olympic Green is 475 hectares large,
with 90 percent green coverage.

-- Transportation infrastructure is progressing with the
October 7 opening of Subway Line 5 running from the north to
south of Beijing. Subway Line 10, the Olympic Line and
Airport Line will start operations in July 2008. Terminal 3
of the Beijing Capital International Airport will be
completed by the end of 2007 and in use by early 2008.

-- To increase accessibility, 1,000 adaptation projects are
being carried out each year. Beijing has built 781 sidewalks
for the visually impaired, adapted 55 subway stations, and
put 270 accessible buses into service. Moreover, over 230
service sector firms, all 3-star and above hotels, and 40
hospitals have been adapted for accessibility.

-- A campaign to "welcome the Olympics, promote civility, and
create a favorable social environment" has been launched to
"create a warm and peaceful atmosphere." The four specific
goals of the campaign are to, "cultivate good manners,
establish sound orders, deliver quality services, and create
a beautiful environment." Efforts have been made to promote
"civility" (ren wen) in social etiquette, the urban
environment, public order, spectator behavior, and the
service sector."

-- Regulatory and supervision measures have been implemented
to ensure "an economical and corruption-free Olympics." In
addition to the Supervision Committee for the Games of the
29th Olympiad, BOCOG also has an in-house Audit and
Supervision Department. The Beijing Municipal Government and
General Administration of Sport of China also have their own
monitoring agencies. Non-government investment funds over 50
percent of venue construction. BOCOG has also decreased the
number of permanent venues and switched to more temporary

BEIJING 00006760 005 OF 005


facilities to reduce the costs of construction and
maintenance.

-- In last ten months (prior to the Games), China will heed
the instructions of the Central Government to stage a
"high-level Olympic Games with distinguishing features."
Randt

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