CHINA / National

Bright day forecast for Beijing Olympics
By Lei Lei (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-08-09 05:41

With the Beijing Olympics exactly two years away, organizers yesterday promised the opening ceremony will not be mired by the heavy rains which have repeatedly hit the capital this summer.

Joggers yesterday pass a countdown board erected in front of the China National Museum on Tian'anmen Square to mark the two-year countdown to the Beijing Olympic Games. [Xinhua]

"The possibility of rain on August 8, 2008, is between 30 and 40 per cent. If it does rain, it will most likely be only a drizzle," said Jiang Xiaoyu, executive vice-president of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG).

The prediction is based on weather data from the last 50 August 8s, Jiang told a news conference marking the two-year countdown.

In Beijing's bidding report, the Games' opening date was originally scheduled for the latter half of July, but due to concerns over bad weather, the BOCOG put it off to August 8.

"Weather data shows that the climate in August will be suitable for the Games," said Jiang.

The Olympics will be held from August 8 to 24, while the Paralympic Games will be held from September 6 to 17.

At yesterday's briefing, organized by the State Council Information Office, organizers also promised a high quality service for the media.

"We will guarantee reporters the same freedom they have enjoyed at previous Games," said Jiang. "Where international norms differ from our usual practices, we will adopt international and Games norms."

He said the commitment applied both to journalists accredited by the IOC to cover the Games and those without accreditation.

"However, all will have to abide by China's laws," he added.

At the 2005 World Broadcaster Briefing for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, last September, BOCOG President Liu Qi pledged to:

allow foreign media's equipment and supplies to enter and be used in China duty-free;

put no restrictions on the export of Olympic material filmed and produced in China for broadcast abroad;

facilitate the entry of personnel of the rights-holding broadcasters and other foreign media into China before the Games.

The 2006 World Broadcaster Meeting for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games opens tomorrow, while the first World Press Briefing for the Games will be held from September 25 to 29, both in Beijing, to gather further suggestions from the media on improving services.

Speaking at the same meeting BOCOG Secretary General Wang Wei said the Games will act as a catalyst for political and social development in China.

"For the whole of society, the Olympic Games will speed up reform," said Wang. "Chinese people will have more opportunities to have exchanges with the rest of the world.

"China is on a fast track to modernization and the Olympic Games will act as a further catalyst."

Wang said the government had learnt a lot from co-operating with the corporate world to stage the Games.

Five Friendlies warm up for world tour

The Five Friendlies, the faces of the Beijing Olympics, are to tour the world spreading friendship, peace and blessings.

The Olympic mascots' first stop will be the United States, where the five Chinese cartoon figures, also known as Fuwa, will tour football fields, performing fairy-tale dramas and playing with local fans.

A ceremony launching the global trip was held in Beijing on Monday evening. Over the next two years, the mascots will visit all seven continents, said Wang Hui, vice-director of the Communications and Media Department of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG).

Each Fuwa symbolizes a different blessing and will carry their blessings to people around the world.

"Prosperity, happiness, passion, health and good luck will be spread to every continent as the Fuwa carry an invitation to Beijing 2008 to every part of the globe," said Wang.

An acrobatic and dramatic fairy tale was staged after the ceremony. The drama told the story of how the Fuwa fought five monsters in ancient times, bringing peace to the world.

The five cartoon Fuwa Beibei the Fish, Jingjing the Panda, Huanhuan the Flame, Yingying the Tibetan Antelope and Nini the Swallow use wisdom, courage and strength to beat the monsters one by one in the story.

After their victory, Huanhuan becomes the Olympic Flame and all five Fuwa become ambassadors of friendship and peace.

"The cartoon figures are clever, brave and full of love," said 10-year-old Huang Penghao after watching the drama.

"I hope the Five Friendlies can deliver a message for me when they meet foreign children. I want to tell other children that Beijing has many delicious foods and beautiful scenic spots."

(China Daily 08/09/2006 page1)