Submitted by Martin Slavin on Tue, 17/06/2008 - 08:06.
The Spectacular Construction of an Olympic Metropolis
University of Quebec, Montreal
ABSTRACT: This article presents a critical review of Beijing’s Olympic redevelopment, and of the social, economic, and political impacts of hosting mega events as a means of urban image construction. Through an analysis of Olympic projects, city marketing initiatives, and their impact on the city’s material and cultural landscape, this article postulates that Beijing’s spatial restructuring and image construction program played an important role in exacerbating the profound inequalities that have come to epitomize China’s transition to capitalism within an autocratic political system. Acting as a developmental engine legitimating large-scale urban transformations, the Olympics have helped concentrate economic and political power in the hands of a coalition of government leaders and private investors and allowed their interests to dominate the planning agenda. Beijing’s spectacular Olympic preparations have in many ways acted as a propaganda tool and an instrument of pacification to divert popular attention from the shortcomings of China’s rapid economic transformation, accompanied by rampant land speculation, corruption, and uneven development.
Submitted by Charles Batsworth on Mon, 12/12/2011 - 00:26.
Back in October 2010 a row broke out over tickets to London 2012 events for children, particularly those from the East End. BoJo hit back saying 120,000 free tickets would be provided for schoolchildren. Now it transpires most of those tickets will be for Paralympic events or football games. About a million football tickets are still unsold. Only one in three children with a ticket will get to see a 'core event'. In London one in eight children is expected to get a ticket but only one in twenty-four will get to see such a core event.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Mon, 05/09/2011 - 22:38.
Ai Weiwei, designer of the Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing, says 'None of my art represents Beijing. The Bird's Nest – I never think about it. After the Olympics, the common folks don't talk about it because the Olympics did not bring joy to the people.'
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Tue, 30/08/2011 - 17:06.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Sat, 27/08/2011 - 17:13.
Remember those promises from the IOC that the Beijing Olympics would result in improvements in China's human rights record? Francois Carrard told the BBC: 'If the Games were not awarded to China the (human rights) situation would not have progressed, this is a contribution to progress, an accelerating factor.' Monsieur Carrard went on 'I'm convinced that when we look at this with the perspective of history we will see that the Olympic Games will have been an opportunity for considerable progress.'
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Thu, 25/08/2011 - 08:49.
The Commercial Games - How Commercialism is Overrunning the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
"The Olympics claim to stand for pure ideals, for sports, culture and education. Unfortunately, the overwhelming cultural influence at the Olympics is now commercial culture; and the overwhelming informational message is: buy, buy, buy."
Submitted by Charles Batsworth on Mon, 06/12/2010 - 09:37.
London is being advised by Frank Kelly, professor and director of the King's College London (KCL) Environmental Research Group, to learn from Beijing's example and restrict traffic during the Olympics to combat air pollution. This is making Beijing feel rather smug, especially as the same Professor Kelly was amongst those raising concerns about air pollution there back in 2008.
Submitted by Julian Cheyne on Thu, 30/09/2010 - 21:30.