Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Beijing marks 1 year until Olympics

Lu Ming was cut off in mid flow as he made his Live report from Tiananmen Square on CCTV-9. CNN also experienced technical problems as John Vause made a Live report yesterday and also today. The broadcasts are all part of the build up to the 29th Olympic Games which are 366 days away. But whilst CCTV-9 is up beat about the celebrations, CNN has reported on the pollution that shrouds the city of Beijing. Many countries have said they are concerned about the quality of the air with some telling their athletes to arrive at the last minute. Australia has said they will send an asthma specialist whilst Britain says they are also making unspecified arrangements.

There has been little coverage on Sky and the BBC leading up to today’s events. But CNN and Channel 4 News, in the UK, have both had special reports throughout the week. Channel Four’s Lindsey Hilsun has reported on residents being displaced for building projects and children undergoing gruelling training routines leading up to the Olympics. Her highly critical reports have been broadcast on both Channel 4 and CNN, but CNN has also looked at the problem of pollution. CCTV-9 this week showed Prime Minister Wen making a visit to a food manufacturing plant and declaring that efforts were in place to ensure food was safe to eat. The report comes on the back of much criticism in the Western media over the quality and safety of food coming out of China. The IOC has said that air quality is the number one worry. Jacques Rogges, the IOC Chief, says pollution may delay some events but acknowledged the authorities were to make attempts to clean up the air by closing plants, shifting from coal to gas and taking more than a million cars off the road.

Today however was a day for celebration. Though it appears there are a number of technical issues surrounding the relaying of pictures from the Chinese capital. Whilst CNN brought intermittent Live coverage of the performances in Tiananmen Square, CCTV-9 disappeared altogether from the Astra satellite downlink for twenty minutes. During the build up to the finale there were songs sung in both Chinese and English including one entitled “Forever Friends”. Officials were then seen arriving in one brief shot and film star Jackie Chan made a brief appearance on stage before the countdown to the year marker.

There then followed a spectacular fireworks display and a performance by dancers and Chinese Lions. John Vause described the performance as being “like a sensory overload”. Then the Mayor of Beijing, Wang Qishan, officially opened the ceremony to mark the occasion. Flags of all nations were then carried into the arena. Then the Olympic anthem was played to the estimated 10,000 people in attendance and millions watching around the world. After introducing a number of officials some gave their own address to the assembled crowds. Liu Peng, President Chinese Olympic Committee announced the Olympics would inspire others to take up sporting activities and live a healthier lifestyle. Jacques Rogge then took to the podium “vast achievement and great potential ahead” he also said China was at a point of “opening up to the world” and said he hoped all who come to China enjoy the upcoming games. Wu Bangguo Chinese Parliament Chief said the Chinese people were committed to the Olympic Games and made tribute to all comrades who had made the project possible. It is a project that has cost in excess of $45 Billion, and the most expensive Olympic Games in history. It is set to start at 8:08 pm 08/08/2008, less than 366 days away…

No comments: