Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Tombs at Beijing Olympic Site


*AP Photo: Chinese Officials at site of an Olympic shooting range, where imperial-era tombs have been discovered; Beijing.

The latest cause to pause construction for the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing is the discovery of tombs, possibly dating back to the Ming dynasty. Read the whole story here.

I've been noting the progression of construction in Beijing for the last year, year and a half, and this find is another one that makes me wonder if China will be ready for the world in '08.

China has a lot on it's plate right now, just with the Three Gorges' Dam and the upcoming summer Olympic Games. Then there's the resettlement problems of the dam, not to mention technical and cost-related difficulties. Add to this the Taxi-driving courses for cabbies to try and curb the legendary driving attitudes and practices, and other construction snags at olympic sites around Beijing, and China seems to be biting off more than it can chew.

But time will tell. China also seems to be dedicated to changing it's image worldwide and - at least on a political level - seems to be embracing change and encouraging economic growth and development. There are countless stories out there about human suffering and loss with regards to the dam, the Olympics', and to the nation in general. Currently China is a great study in the balance of wide-spread growth and the cost of such progression.

In 2008 the world will see Beijing on display, but will the world see both sides of the coin? Certainly we'll see the new National Stadium, the Aquatics Center... but will we see the streets of Beijing around them? Will we see the locals and their reaction to all the changes? And how do you measure the success of such changes to the overall good of the community versus the losses to the individuals affected? Will we ever decide, collectively, on how to answer that question?

Still, I eagerly await Beijing on display in 2008, to see what four short years can mean to the Chinese, when given an olympic opportunity to shine.

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