Concerns and controversies at the 2008 Summer Olympics
|Part of a series on|
A number of concerns and controversies at the 2008 Summer Olympics surfaced before, during, and after the 2008 Summer Olympic games, and which received major media coverage. Leading up to the Olympics, there were concerns about human rights in China, such that many high-profile individuals, such as politicians and celebrities, announced intentions to boycott the games to protest China's role in the Darfur conflict, and Myanmar, its stance towards Tibet, or other aspects of its human rights record. During the games in Beijing, the city was also under a high alert because of security concerns following civil unrest in Tibet and terrorist attacks by Xinjiang separatists. The levels of air pollution in Beijing also came under much scrutiny, due both to concerns about athletes' health and concerns that Beijing had failed to live up to promises it made during its Olympic bid. Foreign journalists at the games reportedly faced various restrictions to their work, limitations to internet access, and threats of physical violence. The gymnastics competition caused a major worldwide controversy during and after the games when some Chinese gymnasts were accused of being under the minimum age, but then cleared after an investigation. Other controversies surrounding the 2008 Summer Olympics included ticketing problems, displacement of Beijing residents due to construction and demolitions, and alleged persecution of individuals applying to protest.
- 1 Organizing concerns and controversies
- 2 Participants' issues
- 3 Political issues leading up to the games
- 4 Human rights and censorship
- 5 Environmental and health issues
- 6 Tourism
- 7 See also
- 8 References
Organizing concerns and controversies
In April, non-Chinese in Beijing reported more regular checks of their identification and work permits, while travel agents in Hong Kong reported that multiple-entry business visas for the mainland, commonly used by non-Chinese businessmen who lack work visas, were no longer being issued, apparently in an attempt to prevent the entry of non-Chinese activists.
Increased security was put into place for the Olympics, and security personnel were trained to counter different terrorist attack scenarios. Anti-aircraft missiles were also installed over the Olympic stations in Beijing. The Times reported that China had mobilised 110,000 police and other security forces in Beijing itself, plus 1.4 million security volunteers and 300,000 surveillance volunteers. The security bill for Beijing alone was estimated in excess of £3 billion. Outside the capital, cities hosting Olympic events were patrolled by 34,000 troops, surface-to-air missiles guarded key sites, and 74 military aircraft, 48 helicopters, and 33 naval vessels were placed on high alert.
Hong Kong's South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported that bar owners in the Sanlitun district of Beijing were ordered by police officials not to serve "black people or Mongolians" as well as of two staff members that were ethnic Tibetan for the Olympics. Time magazine's Liam Fitzpatrick stated that the report by the SCMP was "unconfirmed", and its information was from "anonymous" sources. Equally, The Washington Post interviewed several black bar patrons in Sanlitun, all of whom said they had not been denied service. China's official news agency Xinhua stated on 21 July the alleged "bar policy" was groundless and the city's public security departments, including Sanlitun police, never demanded any bar not serve customers from any region or country ahead of the games.
Professionalism and etiquette
The Beijing government issued new mandates requiring police officers in the city to act more professionally, warning that violators would be reprimanded. By doing this, Beijing hoped to clean up its image in time for the games. The government circulated pamphlets urging officers to desist from using foul language, being arrogant, and hanging up on people who call to report crimes.
A drive was also launched to improve incorrect English translations common on Chinese signage and labelling in readiness for the Olympics. Signs were placed around Beijing, instructing locals not to ask any non-Chinese personal questions for fear of causing discomfort to tourists and athletes.
Hong Kong Bishop John Tong Hon said of his acceptance to participate in the opening ceremony that “while the leaders of the six largest religions in Hong Kong were invited to Beijing, only in the case of the Catholic Church was an invitation not sent to the highest authority. I am embarrassed because our government ignored Cardinal Zen and invited me instead.” He expressed his desire that China's government would someday give “the same importance to greater religious and social freedom that it had in cleaning up Beijing's pollution in anticipation of the games,” nonetheless noting that “the Olympic Games [still showed] the progress of China”.
Ode to the Motherland, sometimes called as "the second national anthem" of the PRC, was lipsynched by Lin Miaoke at the ceremony, who used the recording of another girl, Yang Peiyi. Chen Qigang, the ceremony's chief musical director, claimed that this was because a senior Politburo member commented that Lin's singing was not good enough, but preferring Lin's appearance to that of Yang. Sun Weide, the spokesman for the Beijing organising committee, said however that the decision to use both girls was made by the artistic director after consulting with broadcasters, who had recommended the change.
One part of the fireworks show, which displayed the 29 footprints that wandered into the Bird's Nest from outside the stadium, was simulated by computer animation to portray the real fireworks due to the hazy smog conditions and safety concerns with flying a helicopter near the display.
A number of sportsmen were criticised for their behaviour at the games:
- The Chinese men's football team was severely criticised by the domestic media for its poor sportsmanship, particularly during the match against Belgium. Defender Tan Wangsong was red-carded for kicking Belgium's Sebastien Pocognoli in the lower abdomen, while Zheng Zhi was ejected for elbowing an opponent.
- Mohammad Alirezaei of Iran was to race against Israel's Tom Be'eri in the fourth heat of the 100 meter breaststroke, but pulled out, allegedly under the orders from officials of the Iranian delegation for political reasons.
- Swedish wrestler Ara Abrahamian rejected his bronze medal in 84 kg Greco-Roman wrestling in protest over the judging of a semifinal match.
- Cuban taekwondo athlete Ángel Valodia Matos kicked referee Chakir Chelbat in the face after being disqualified. His coach further accused the referee of taking bribes from Kazakhstan. Matos' records at the Beijing Games were erased, and the World Taekwondo Federation banned Matos and his coach from WTF events for life.
- Chinese taekwondo judges were accused of throwing a game to a weaker opponent so that the Chinese competitor in the next match would win.
Advertisement in Spain
Prior to the start of the Games, the Spain Men's and Women's Basketball teams featured in ads that appeared in the Spanish daily sports newspaper Diario Marca. The athletes, dressed in uniform and assembled at a center court bearing a dragon logo, posed with their hands pulling back the skin on their eyes. The Guardian said: "No one involved in the advert appears to have considered it inappropriate nor contemplated the manner in which it could be interpreted in China and elsewhere." A spokesman for the Organization of Chinese Americans said that the photo was "clearly racist, and not even in a jovial way". Point guard Jose Manuel Calderon said the team was responding to a request from the photographer, while teammate Pau Gasol said it was "absurd" people were calling the gesture racist. The IOC said "clearly it was inappropriate, we understand the team has apologised and absolutely meant no offence whatsoever", and considered the matter closed.
FIFA v football clubs dispute
In July 2008, the football clubs representing players taking part in the games, FC Schalke 04, SV Werder Bremen and FC Barcelona, made an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to prevent their star players, namely Brazil's Rafinha and Diego and Argentina's Lionel Messi respectively, from playing at the Olympics.
FIFA's rule states that it was mandatory to release all players aged 23 or under for the Olympics which was overturned on July 30, 2008, stating that "The Olympic Football Tournament Beijing 2008 is not included in the Co-ordinated Match Calendar and there is no specific decision of the FIFA Executive Committee establishing the obligation for the clubs to release players under 23 for this tournament." This meant clubs were entitled to recall their players from the games if they wished.
Despite the ruling, FIFA appealed to the club, Rafinha and Diego was released for the games under the provision that their salaries was paid for by the Brazilian Football Confederation. Despite resistance from his employer, Messi was eventually released for the games.
Allegation of underage gymnasts
In early 2008, Yang Yun, an artistic gymnast who won two bronze medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics, admitted on state-run television that she was 14 when she had competed. Consequently, there was frequent speculation that members of the Chinese women's gymnastics team were 14 years of age or under, violating the minimum age requirements of International Federation of Gymnastics (FIG), the governing body of the sport, that requires gymnasts to be 16. Younger gymnasts are lighter and more supple than adult gymnasts, and have also been said to be more fearless when performing difficult manoeuvres.
The New York Times claimed that official media and some official Web sites in China, including that of the State General Administration of Sport, listed Chinese gymnasts' details which indicated that He Kexin, Jiang Yuyuan and Yang Yilin may have been as young as 14. During the Olympics, media focused their attention on He, Yang, Jiang, and Deng. In response, Chinese officials claimed the discrepancies for He Kexin were caused by paperwork errors when the gymnast switched teams. Chinese authorities presented passport information to show that they were 16 years old as of 2008. Chinese coach Lu Shanzhen explained that Chinese competitors had for years all been small. "It is not just this time. It is a question of race. European and American athletes are all powerful, very robust. But Chinese athletes... are by nature that small." Sportswriter E.M. Swift criticised the IOC for "spend[ing] millions of dollars trying to ferret out drug cheats [while ignoring] allegations of institutionalized cheating" by the Chinese government.
On 22 August 2008 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) instructed the FIG to investigate the allegations that He Kexin was under-age, and were asked to report back to the IOC later that day. The FIG accepted passport ages as valid proof and declared gymnasts eligible. On 23 August, further pressure led the FIG to request additional documentation on five of the six athletes on the Chinese team. IOC president Jacques Rogge said that FIG had demanded "birth certificates and all the documents like family books, entries in schools and things like that." While the FIG investigation was in progress, the IOC indicated reshuffling of the medals was unlikely. Having been satisfied with the proof of age received from the Chinese Gymnastics Association, the FIG ended the investigation on 1 October 2008, concluding that He and her teammates were eligible to compete.
In a related story, Yang's teammate in 2000, Dong Fangxiao, was subsequently revealed to have lied about her age. She claimed to have been 17 in 2000, but worked as a technical official at the 2008 Games, and her certification gave a birthdate of 1986—which would have made her 14 years old in 2000. In 2010, the FIG erased Dong's scores, and the IOC stripped China of its team bronze for 2000.
State training and expectations of Chinese athletes
As the host country, China's very high expectations put immense pressure upon athletes and coaches alike. Liu Xiang, the defending Olympic champion for the 110 meter hurdles, had pulled out of the heats with an injury. His victory in Athens four years ago was China's first gold medal in track and field, regarded by some as dispelling the widespread view that Chinese physiology was unsuitable for such a discipline. Hyped by the state and sponsors, with his fame and endorsements exceeding that of Yao Ming in China, Liu's withdrawal disappointed millions with some accusing him of being afraid to lose, while others suggested that excessive pressure may have worn him out. Liu's coach had been told by government officials that "if Liu could not win a gold medal in Beijing, all of his previous achievements would become meaningless." Josef Capousek, a former rowing coach, was fired by China's sporting federation over a contract dispute. He had argued in favour of the objective declared in the German version, to "aim" to get a gold medal, and against the Chinese-language version which stated that his athletes "must" win the gold medal. He said "nobody can guarantee a gold in any sport...but here, anything less than gold means nothing."
There has also been criticism of the Chinese government's training regime. Parents and children endure considerable personal sacrifices – young children often leave their families to endure long and tough training regimens in the state academies, where 250,000 children are enrolled. Critics also say that the sports schools focus on training at the expense of general education, leaving athletes unprepared to leave the sports system that has raised them. Yang Wenjun, a C-2 Canoeing champion at the Athens Olympics, told The New York Times that he was ill-equipped to go to college or start a business. He recounted officials' threats to withhold his retirement income if he quit before the Beijing Games, adding that it was "not possible to survive without those benefits". While Yang and his family have received numerous rewards for his achievement (including white collar jobs, stipends, performance bonuses, endorsements, and an apartment), he has not seen his parents in three years.
On the opposite side, for those athletes who do win Gold medals, the State offers a significant performance bonus. Cheng Fei, for example, could look forward to more than $150,000 in cash and bonuses for every Olympic Gold Medal she wins. Yang said his wins at the 2002 Asian Games netted him about [US]$28,600 in bonuses –more than the money his parents can earn in ten years.
Out of 4,500 samples that were collected from participating athletes at the games, six athletes with positive specimens were ousted from the competition. Although the rate of positive findings was lower than at the 2004 Summer Olympics, doping experts expressed concern due to advances in doping technology. In July 2008, a BBC investigation reported that samples positive for erythropoietin were labelled as negative by WADA-approved laboratories. The IOC stated in October 2008 that it would begin retesting samples for CERA.
Political issues leading up to the games
The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimated that China had 150 million migrant workers out of a total national working population of 764 million people at the end of 2006. More than 40 million of these migrant workers were employed in construction, an industry in which some 90 percent of the workforce was composed of migrants. 2008 Summer Olympics migrant workers routinely endured dangerous work environments and lacked any safety net, including medical and accident insurance. Problems of migrant workers included unpaid wages and high legal costs.
Calls for sustained pressure and boycotts of the Olympics came from former French presidential candidate François Bayrou, Sudan scholar Eric Reeves and the editorial board of The Washington Post. In February 2008, American film director Steven Spielberg announced he was stepping down from his role as an artistic advisor in protest of the Chinese government's refusal to pressure Sudan to stop the "continuing human suffering" in the Darfur region, urging it to do more to stop "these crimes against humanity." European Parliament Vice-President Edward McMillan-Scott, called for a boycott of the Beijing games; and praised the Prince of Wales for not attending the Games. Additionally, 106 lawmakers in the United States circulated a letter calling for the US to boycott the Olympics because of China's support of the Sudanese regime and the forced relocation of 300,000 poor Chinese to make room for the games. US Senators John McCain and Barack Obama both claimed that they would have boycotted the ceremony if they were in the White House. Polish prime minister Donald Tusk, became the first EU head of government to announce a boycott and was soon joined by President Václav Klaus of the Czech Republic. The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, said she will not attend opening of the Beijing Olympics. The Geneva-based group Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions claimed that 1.5 million Beijing residents would be displaced from their homes for the construction of Olympics venues. Beijing's Olympic organising committee and China's Foreign Ministry stated that 15,000 residents from 6,037 households were displaced. Some sources said that as of May 2005, 300,000 residents were evicted in preparation for the games and that police in Beijing placed many people under arrest for protesting against the evictions. Protester Ye Guozhu, who attempted to draw public attention to alleged forced evictions in Beijing due to Olympics-related construction, was sentenced in December 2004 to a four-year prison term for "picking quarrels and stirring up trouble".
The British Olympic Association (BOA) required that British participants signed an agreement before leaving for China, promising not to comment on any "politically sensitive issues." However, a BOA spokesman stated that the BOA's intention was not to censor athletes, but to reaffirm the IOC charter, which prohibits demonstration of political, religious or racial propaganda in any Olympic venues.
In general, attendance at the 2008 games was highly politicised, with as many as 80 political heads of state attending; several major political figures, however, considered boycotting the Games for political reasons. On 2 April 2008, the Japanese government announced that its royal family would not participate in the opening ceremony because of the international concern focused on the violent crackdown in Tibet. On 5 April, the newspaper Le Monde reported that French President Nicolas Sarkozy hoped that there would be an end to violence against Tibetans, the release of political prisoners, light to be shed on the events and the opening of dialogue with the Dalai Lama before the opening ceremony. The BBC wrote that while Sarkozy was opposed to a full boycott, he would "not close the door to any possibility" as far as his own attendance was concerned.
On 10 April 2008, China announced that it had foiled a plot against the games by Uyghur separatists in Xinjiang. According to the Chinese security ministry, separatists planned suicide bomb attacks on Chinese cities and kidnappings in Beijing to disrupt the Olympic Games. Uyghur activists claim that the Chinese fabricated these terror plots to prevent people in the region from voicing their grievances with the Han Chinese. On 25 April 2008, Interpol issued a warning that there was a real possibility that the Beijing Olympics would be targeted by terrorist groups.
Tibetan independence groups
Some pro-Tibetan independence groups, such as Students for a Free Tibet, initiated a campaign against the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics to protest for Tibetan independence, It also objected to the use of the Tibetan antelope (chiru) as the Fuwa Yingying. The Tibetan People's Movement has also demanded representation of Tibet with its own national flag. American film actor Richard Gere, chairman of the International Campaign for Tibet called for a boycott to put pressure on China to make Tibet independent. There were also plans by Tibetans in exile to hold their own version of the Olympics in May, at the headquarters of the exiled government.
The international journalist group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) advocated boycott to express concerns over violations of free speech and human rights in China. It hoped that international pressure could effect the release of prisoners of conscience and the upholding of promises made to the IOC regarding improvements in human rights.
In March 2008, Taiwan's president-elect Ma Ying-jeou threatened a Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee boycott "if the situation in Tibet continues to worsen". Masahisa Tsujitani, a Japanese craftsman who makes shots used by many Olympic athletes, announced 14 April he refuses to allow his wares to be used at the games to protest China's treatment of protesters in Tibet.
Disruption of torch relay
During the Olympic torch lighting ceremony in Greece on 24 March 2008, three Reporters Without Borders journalists breached a cordon of 1,000 police at the ancient Olympia stadium and interrupted the speech of Liu Qi, head of the Beijing Games committee . One protestor tried to snatch the microphone as another unrolled a black flag showing the Olympic rings as handcuffs.
Nearly 50 Tibetan exiles in India began a global torch relay 25 March 2008 with a symbolic "Olympic" flame that ended in Tibet on 8 August 2008, the day of the Summer Games' opening ceremonies in Beijing. Although the torch was heavily guarded by local police and Chinese security agents wearing blue track suits, protesters attempting to stop the relay or take the torch were a significant problem along the route.
Disruption of the torch relay and foreign condemnation of China resulted in a backlash of nationalism and anti-foreigner sentiment in China. French goods and businesses were threatened with a reprisals for the assault on torch-bearers through Paris, France. French retailer Carrefour was boycotted, and there were flag burning protests outside some stores. Foreign media, particularly CNN, was severely criticised for its reporting of the Tibetan riots. The media reported that the attitudes of Han Chinese citizens towards non-Chinese and Chinese minorities in China noticeably worsened. In late April, Chinese Internet censors, who had previously permitted posts critical of non-Chinese, began blocking words such as "Carrefour", in what was seen as an attempt to calm tensions before the games.
Human rights and censorship
Protest permits and zones
Liu Shaowu announced on 23 July that the Public Security Bureau would issue permits for protesting in protest zones during the Olympics. The three designated locations were Purple Bamboo Park, Temple of the Sun, and Beijing World Park. On 18 August it was reported that of 77 applications, 74 were withdrawn, two suspended and one vetoed.
A number of protest applicants claim that they were wrongfully discouraged, rejected, or denied permits altogether. Some who applied for permits went missing or were detained. Others say they have decided against applying because they feared that the process was a means to collect information about dissenters.
- A Beijing woman was denied a permit to protest the razing of her home for Olympic-related development, she and 20 supporters protested one day before the Olympics. Her son claims that she was then jailed for "disturbing social order".
- A representative of 140 property owners in Suzhou Industrial Park, who sought to protest unjust behaviour by Suzhou officials in a land dispute, was interviewed by a PSB official, and then sent her back to Suzhou by four Suzhou officials who placed her under house arrest.
- Two elderly women from Beijing, aged 77 and 79, who applied five times to protest during the Olympics against what they believed was inadequate compensation for the demolition of their homes in Beijing in 2001, received a suspended one-year non-judicial sentence of re-education through labour for "disturbing the public order".
- An entrepreneur from Hunan province disappeared after trying to file for a permit to demand greater participation of citizens in political processes, and denounce rampant official corruption and abuses of power. His friend, a legal advocate from Fujian, stepped in to apply for protest permits and was reportedly escorted from the building and put into an unmarked Buick by several men, and also disappeared.
- According to The New York Times, a farmer from Heilongjiang mailed an application to protest in early August. When he went to Beijing to follow up a week later, he was promptly escorted back to Heilongjiang by authorities, and was being held by police near Xingyi.
Web and media censorship
China pledged in its Olympic bid that it would allow open media access during the games, but Human Rights Watch alleges that it has failed to do so. While some estimated 20,000 journalists had been assured unfettered Internet access by the IOC's Jacques Rogge, Sun Weide (孙伟德) of the Beijing Organizing Committee announced in late July that China would allow only "convenient" access – still blocking sites which reference controversial content. The IOC and broadcasters were uncertain as to whether the Beijing authorities would allow them to broadcast live from locations such as Tiananmen Square, fearing protests. In 2001, Beijing announced there would be complete freedom for the media to report in China. After lengthy discussions, broadcasters were permitted to broadcast between the hours of 6–10 am and 9–11 pm with prior permission; however, live interviews were banned at all times. Many broadcasters were unhappy with this decision as it would "set a bad precedent in regards to press freedom", and were pushing the authorities further on the issue.
In late July, US senator Sam Brownback alleged that foreign-owned hotels in China were ordered by the government to install equipment to monitor internet use by guests. Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said that the security arrangements did not exceed "what is normal internationally".
The IOC also investigated complaints from the international media that the Internet at the Main Press Centre was slow and some websites remain blocked, which may disrupt reporting. This was seen when Amnesty International criticised the Chinese government for not delivering on its Olympic promises of human rights; however journalists could not access the website. Additionally, websites critical of the government, or relating to Tibet and Falun Gong remain blocked at the centre. Kevan Gosper from the IOC clarified that the 'open Internet' only refers to reporting directly on the games, and not other issues relating to China. Due to international pressure, a number of websites, notably BBC, Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders, Apple Daily were unblocked.
When queueing for Olympic tickets descended into chaos, fighting erupted between police and ticket-buyers, including journalists from Hong Kong such as Cable TV Hong Kong, Hong Kong Oriental News, and the SCMP. Two Japanese journalists covering bomb attacks in Xinjiang and a British journalist covering a Tibetan independence protest in Beijing were 'roughed up' and detained, and the British journalist claimed that his equipment was damaged. Chinese authorities apologised for the incident involving the Japanese journalists, and registered concern from the British embassy and the IOC with the latter incident.
On 14 August, the IOC urged China to allow foreign reporters to report freely at the games. After the games had closed, the Foreign Correspondents Club of China (FCCC) issued a statement noting that there was "welcome progress in terms of accessibility and the number of press conferences within the Olympic facilities". However, the FCCC was "alarmed at the use of violence, intimidation and harassment outside". The club confirmed more than 30 cases of reporting interference since 25 July, and said it was checking "at least 20 other reported incidents".
Arrests of political activists
According to Business Week, at least 50 Beijing human-rights activists were either arrested, put under house arrest, or banished from the capital during the Games. In January 2008, AIDS and human rights activist Hu Jia, who was already under house arrest, was taken into custody on 27 December 2007 for "inciting subversion". Hu had criticised China's hosting of the Olympics by comparing it to Nazi Germany hosting the Berlin Olympics. Ye Guozhu was serving a four-year sentence and was scheduled for release in 2008. On 26 July, his supposed release day, his family was sent an official police notice prolonging his detention. Amnesty International cited the police saying Ye "would be kept in detention to keep him and his family out of trouble until the Olympics and Paralympics were over." The U.S. Embassy in Beijing expressed concern over human rights groups' reports that Zeng Jinyan, blogger-wife of Hu Jia, was taken from her home on 7 August; three days later, Hua Huiqi, a leader in Beijing's underground church, was taken by security agents while on his way to church.
Suppression of negative news
In the lead-up to the Olympics, the government allegedly issued guidelines to the local media for their reporting during the Games: political issues not directly related to the games such as Tibetan independence and social unrest in Xinjiang were not to be reported on, as were food safety issues such as "cancer-causing mineral water." As the scandal involving melamine contamination of milk broke in September 2008, some western media evoked suspicions that China's desire for a perfect games may have been a factor contributing towards the delayed recall of contaminated infant formula, which has affected 94,000 babies with kidney stones and killed at least 4 infants, although the Central government denied issuing this guidance. Hebei provincial vice-governor said his administration was only notified by Shijiazhuang on 8 September. The World Health Organisation asked Beijing why it took so many months for the scandal to become public, and to establish whether failure was deliberate or due to ignorance.
Environmental and health issues
The United States Olympic Committee imported food for American athletes, citing concerns regarding the safety of food products produced in China. In particular, athletes were concerned that eating meat that was raised in China could contain enough steroids to cause the athletes to test positive for steroid use. Several Canadian athletes received permission to do the same. The United States Olympic Committee's plan to bring its own food to China disappointed the leader of food services for the Beijing Olympics.
Concern was raised over the air quality, and its potential effect on the athletes.[a] Although the Beijing Municipal Government, in its bid file in 2001, committed to lowering air pollution, increasing environmental protection, and introducing environmental technology, research data show that even if the city were to dramatically cut down its emissions, pollution would still drift over from neighbouring provinces, upstream from which 50 percent of Beijing's air was believed to flow. Air pollution was at least two to three times higher than levels deemed safe by the World Health Organization. Marco Cardinale of the British Olympic Association has stated that air pollution coupled with heat and humidity makes it "very unlikely we'll see outstanding performances in endurance sports." Despite this, Beijing committed to remove 60,000 taxis and buses from the roads by the end of 2007 and relocate 200 local factories, including a prominent steel factory, before the games begin. The Chinese government provided assurances that "blue skies are a requirement not only for Beijing, but also for the places around it." The United States Olympic Committee was confident that the air quality of Beijing would not be a concern for the US delegation to the games. Nevertheless, the IOC's medical commission analysed air-quality data recorded by the Beijing Environment Protection Bureau in August, when test athletic events were held in the Chinese capital. The commission found that outdoor endurance events—defined as those that include at least an hour of continuous, high-intensity physical effort—may pose some risk.
In spite of such efforts, several countries indicated that their athletes would arrive at the games as late as possible to limit exposure to pollution. Many teams set up offshore training camps in Japan and South Korea to avoid the pollution. The pollution prompted several athletes to change events or opt out: for example, Ethiopian long-distance runner Haile Gebrselassie withdrew from the marathon and ran the 10,000 meters instead, to reduce the risk of harm to himself because of his asthma, and Belgian tennis player Justine Henin announced nearly a year before the games that she would not compete for the same reasons.
In July 2008, stricter emergency pollution controls were introduced, including suspending production at more factories and coal-fired power plants, lowering the number of cars on the road and expanding driving restrictions to nearby Tianjin. In early July, Beijing ordered 40 factories in Tianjin and 300 factories in Tangshan to begin suspending operations in an effort to reduce air pollution. On 20 July, a major temporary air pollution control plan began: additional factories were shut down; there were license plate restrictions which allowed Beijing motorists to drive on alternate days only, depending on whether the last number on their license plate was odd or even, to reduce daily traffic by two million vehicles. Despite the program, by 28 July the China Daily reported that Beijing's skies remained alarmingly polluted and that authorities were considering emergency measures during the Games.
|Air quality before and during the 2008 Summer Olympics|
early afternoon value
|SEPA AQI ||55||64||66||89||113||109||118||113||96||90||43||69||27||34||35||83||88||85||95||94||78||82||37||32||60||61||17||23||42||25||42||53||60||36||41||45|
As the Games began, air quality in Beijing improved significantly against prior expectations. Air quality throughout the Games recorded API scores under 100, the official target. Of the 16 days of the Games, ten days recorded 'Grade I' and six days recorded 'Grade II' air quality in Chinese standards. Media concerns of air quality has also subsided as the Games progressed. However, a 28 July 2008 Greenpeace report stated that average concentration of atmospheric particulate matter in Beijing was still twice the levels the World Health Organization considers safe. Although observers doubted the performance in endurance events due to air quality, humidity and temperature, the men's 10 km and marathon events did set new Olympic records. The Chinese authority pledged to continue their environmental efforts after the Games and pointed to their ¥140 billion investment in the past ten years as evidence of their determination. After witnessing the success of their efforts, some of the temporary measures during the Games are being considered for permanent enforcement.
Pollution threats to sailing events
At the end of May 2008, two months before the start of the Olympics, a "red tide" (a type of algal bloom) was found to be developing. It began choking large stretches of the Qingdao near to the venue for the sailing events. While algae blooms are known to develop in nutrient-rich water, often as a result of chemical pollution, run-off from heavy fertiliser use or untreated sewerage; Qingdao's Ocean and Fishing Bureau said the particular temperature and salinity of sea water had been responsible in this case.
Officials in Qingdao achieved their own target of 15 July to clear the algae in the vicinity of the venue. The task force that cleaned-up more than a million tonnes of algae were said to number 1,200 boats and many thousands of troops and volunteers.
A 2-square-kilometre (0.77 sq mi) oil slick was discovered off the coast of Qingdao on 11 August. Officials said that the oil would not affect Olympic sailing, and all the sailing events proceeded as scheduled.
Prior to the Games, officials anticipated two million tourists, of which one-third would be from overseas. However, actual volume of visitors fell 9.2% year-on-year. Chinese officials cited the Sichuan earthquake, riots in Tibet, torch relay protests and the subprime mortgage crisis as factors. Locally, many people anticipated that Beijing would be too crowded during the Games. Businesses avoided scheduling meetings during these two weeks, and potential Chinese visitors decided to stay at home and watch the events on TV.
Initially, many hotel owners invested heavily for the Olympics. Many anticipated bookings in the 70% to 80% level, and room prices jumped as much as ten times the regular level. Occupancy of 77% was reported for luxury hotels in early August. For 4-star hotels and lower, occupancy of 40% led to price reductions, although still at three times the regular price. In July, Air China, the nation's flagship carrier, also saw its international passenger traffic fall by 19% from a year earlier.
Hoteliers blamed the lack of visitors on increased security measures and the tightening of visa rules and for driving out thousands of itinerant foreigners and overseas students living in Beijing. Visa requirements introduced in April required foreign visitors to have proof of their accommodation and return flight when applying to enter China. One foreign Olympics consultant was quoted as saying "they made it hard to get tickets and hard to get visas. The impression they gave was that they didn’t want foreigners to come".
According to the Beijing Olympic Organising Committee (BOCOG), the 6.8 million tickets to the Games were sold out. The prevalence of empty seats at many events caused journalists and visitors to be suspicious about these claims. Beijing Olympic organisers were said to have given some 2.7 million tickets to officials and corporate sponsors, many of whom did not attend the events. A mainland journal suggested that the day-tickets without right of re-entry was also part of the problem. In one instance, people in the audience left the stadium after the Chinese women's volleyball match, but they were not allowed back when they found out there was another game. A senior BOCOG official expressed concern about the empty seats, saying that the hot, humid weather could have caused the poor turnout. Officials admitted to bussing in locals or "cheerleaders" to fill seats. The empty seats angered athletes of countries outside China, who had been told that 80 percent of tickets had been reserved for the Chinese.
Despite early warnings published by The Guardian and efforts by official ticketing coordinators, more than $6 million in fraudulent tickets were sold by an illegitimate online ticket broker.
- Concerns and controversies over the 2010 Winter Olympics
- Concerns and controversies over the 2010 Commonwealth Games
- Controversies at the 2012 Summer Olympics
- ^ Poor-quality air in China contributes to the death of about 400,000 Chinese annually. Ozone and fine particulate matter—bits of carbon, sulfates, and industrial by-products— were the two biggest pollution threats to the athletes in 2008. When high ozone levels are present, lungs are not able to absorb as much air, causing coughing, wheezing, or headaches.
- "Protestors Rally in Europe on Eve of China Olympics". Deutsche Welle. 7 August 2008. Retrieved 9 August 2008.
- "China's un-Olympic human rights record". Calgary Herald. 9 August 2008. Retrieved 9 August 2008.
- "Canadian protests over China's human-rights record continue prior to Games". Haaretz. 8 August 2008. Retrieved 9 August 2008.[dead link]
- Andersson, Hilary (13 July 2008). "China 'is fuelling war in Darfur'". BBC News. Retrieved 12 July 2008.
- Olympic protests held around the world, The Guardian, 8 August 2008.
- "Taiwan threatens Olympics boycott". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 24 March 2008.
- Newman, Saul. "Why Grandpa boycotted the Olympics". Haaretz. Retrieved 9 August 2008.
- Kenneth Jacobson Don't Curtail a Changing China's Progress: The Case Against Sanctions Anti-Defamation League, 1 August 2008
- "Beijing warned of 'terror threat'". BBC. 25 April 2008.
- "Interpol says Olympic terror attack 'real possibility". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). 25 April 2008.[dead link]
- "Interpol chief warns of Olympic terror threat". Yahoo! Eurosport UK. Agence France-Presse. 25 April 2008.
- "Ji Xinpeng: Beijing welcomes you with its blue sky". China Daily. 7 August 2008. Retrieved 8 August 2008.
- "Beijing failing to clear the air". Yomiuri Shimbun. 27 July 2008. Archived from the original on 3 August 2008. Retrieved 9 August 2008.
- "After Friend Disappears, Ji Sizun Confronts Police and is Detained Himself". The Washington Post. 12 August 2008. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
- Dáša Van Der Horst (6 August 2008). "Censored!". The Prague Post.
- "China closes its 'truly exceptional games'". MSNBC. Associated Press. 24 August 2008.
- Edward Cody (29 April 2008). "For Chinese, a Shift in Mood, From Hospitable to Hostile". The Washington Post.
- Zhou, Martin (23 June 2008). "Beijing deploys anti-aircraft missiles". South China Morning Post (Hong Kong). Retrieved 29 July 2008.
- "Gold medal for security: China installs anti-aircraft missile launchers at all Olympic sites". Daily Mail (London). 25 June 2008. Retrieved 9 August 2008.
- Rosemary Righter (5 August 2008). "Has China got a terrorist problem?". The Times (London).
- Jill Drew (30 July 2008). "Chinese Officials Give Club District A Brusque Cleanup". The Washington Post. p. A01.
- York, Geoffrey (18 July 2008). "Africans in Beijing harassed as Olympics approach". The Globe and Mail (Toronto: CTVglobemedia). Retrieved 9 August 2008.
- Toy, Mary-Anne (19 July 2008). "Fears of a 'no-fun' Olympics in Beijing". The Age (Melbourne, Australia). Retrieved 9 August 2008.
- "One World, One Dream, One Serious Allegation". Time. 18 July 2008. Retrieved 10 August 2008.
- "China denies report of ban on Africans, Mongolians in bars for Olympics". International Herald Tribune. 22 July 2008. Retrieved 10 August 2008.
- "New Guidelines For Beijing Police Ahead of 2008 Games". GamesBids. 11 May 2007.
- "Beijing stamps out poor English". BBC News. 15 October 2006.
- "Etiquette guide: What not to ask Olympic visitors". NBCOlympics.com. 23 July 2008.
- "Chinese bishop explains reasons for participating in Olympic opening ceremonies". Catholic News Agency. 8 August 2008. Retrieved 10 August 2008.
- "China snubs Zen, invites deputy". The Standard. 8 August 2008. Retrieved 10 August 2008.
- "Hong Kong bishop says he has mixed feelings about attending Olympics". Catholic News Service. 7 August 2008. Retrieved 11 August 2008.
- "Bishops From Hong Kong, Macau Invited To Beijing Olympics' Opening". Union of Catholic Asian News. 13 June 2008. Retrieved 11 August 2008.
- Yardley, Jim (13 August 2008). "In Grand Olympic Show, Some Sleight of Voice". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 March 2010.
- Spencer, Richard (12 August 2008). "Beijing Olympics Faking scandal over girl who sang in opening ceremony". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 30 March 2010.
- Bristow, Michael (12 August 2008). "China Olympic ceremony star mimed". BBC.
- "Chinese defend Olympic ceremony lip-synch". International Herald Tribune. Associated Press. 13 August 2008.
- "Olympic opening uses girl's voice, not face". Breitbart. 12 August 2008.
- "Live From Beijing: Computer-Enhanced Fireworks". NPR. Retrieved 9 November 2009.
- Spencer, Richard (10 August 2008). "Beijing Olympic 2008 opening ceremony giant firework footprints 'faked'". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 30 March 2010.
- "Beijing enhanced Olympic show with faked 'fireworks'". CNN. 12 August 2008.[dead link]
- "Officials urged to open venues". The Australian. 13 August 2008. Retrieved 29 August 2008.
- "Belgium beats nine-man China 2–0 at Olympic soccer match". China Daily. Xinhua News Agency. 10 August 2008.
- "Belgium beat nine-man China 2–0 at Olympic soccer match". Chinaview. Xinhua News Agency. 10 August 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2008.
- Sinai, Allon (11 August 2008). "Iranian refuses to race Israeli swimmer in Beijing". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 30 August 2008.
- "IOC comments on Iran-Israel swimming controversy". The Sports Network (Anchorage Daily News). 10 August 2008.
- "Angry Swedish wrestler ditches medal". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 16 August 2008.[dead link]
- "Olympic Buzz: Cuban athlete kicks referee in face". The Kansas City Star. 23 August 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2008.[dead link]
- Zinser, Lynn (23 August 2008). "Cuban Athlete Is Barred for Kicking Referee in the Face". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 August 2008.
- Ransom, Ian (23 August 2008). "Cuban banned for referee kick". Reuters. Retrieved 30 August 2008.
- Feschuk, Dave (20 August 2008). "Result questioned by Canadian medal hopeful in taekwondo". Toronto Star. Retrieved 30 August 2008.
- Lowe, Sid (11 August 2008). "Olympics: Spain's eye-catching faux pas". The Guardian (London).
- Schoetz, David (12 August 2008). "Spain's 'Slant-Eye' Team Photo Stirs Ire". American Broadcasting Company.
- "Spanish players defend controversial photo". 13 August 2008. Retrieved 23 August 2008.
- "Spanish defend Olympic 'slant-eye' photo". The New Zealand Herald. 14 August 2008. Retrieved 23 August 2008.[dead link]
- "Spain basketball squad's slit-eyed ad 'inappropriate': IOC". Google News. Agence France-Presse. 13 August 2008.
- http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2008/aug/06/olympics2008.olympicsfootball Cite error: Invalid
<ref>tag; name "guardian" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
- "Issues raised about Chinese athletes' ages" Diane Pucin, Los Angeles Times, 28 July 2008.
- Macur, Juliet (10 August 2008). "Teeny-Tiny Matter of Age for China's Gymnasts". New York Times date=9 August 2008. Retrieved 6 October 2008.
- Hutcheon, Stephen (22 August 2008). "IOC calls for investigation into gymnast's age". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 August 2008.
- Macur, Juliet (22 August 2008). "I.O.C. Asks for Inquiry of Chinese Gymnasts". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 August 2008.
- Longman, Jeré; Macur, Juliet (27 July 2008). "Records say Chinese gymnasts may be underage". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 August 2008.
- Macur, Juliet (24 August 2008). "China Cites Paperwork Error in Age of Gymnast". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 August 2008.
- Ann Killion (13 August 2008). "Chinese gymnasts too young to know any better?". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 31 August 2008.
- "Most Memorable Moments of the 2008 Beijing Olympics". AsianWeek. 26 August 2008. Retrieved 31 August 2008.
- "IOC: No proof China cheated in gymnastics". MSNBC. 22 August 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2008.
- E. M. Swift (20 August 2008). "The IOC's handling of the underage gymnast controversy is a shame". Sports Illustrated.
- "Artistic : Age of gymnasts". International Gymnastics Federation official announcement. 23 August 2008. Retrieved 27 August 2008.[dead link]
- "Rogge says gymnasts' paperwork appears to support China claims". ESPN. Associated Press. 24 August 2008. Retrieved 31 August 2008.
- "Officials say Chinese Olympic gymnasts not underage". International Herald Tribune. 2 October 2008. Retrieved 6 October 2008.
- Macur, Juliet (1 October 2008). "Ruling Backs Chinese Gymnasts". The New York Times. Associated Press. Retrieved 1 October 2008.
- "No kidding: China stripped of gymnastics medal". Fox Sports Net. 28 April 2010. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
- Coonan, Clifford (19 August 2008). "Heartbreak for China as hero limps out before first hurdle". The Independent (London). Retrieved 17 October 2008.
The national pressure crushed him. After the Athens Olympics, Chinese people concentrated on him very much. (...) I think the pressure from 1.3 billion Chinese people is too much for a man. Just let him have a good rest.
- "China's Liu Xiang pulls out of 110 meter hurdles". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 18 August 2008. Archived from the original on 22 August 2008. Retrieved 17 October 2008.
'I think he may have wanted to win too much and could have caved under the pressure,' said a suspicious He Shen. 'The injury may be an excuse.'
- "The agony: Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang drops out of race". The Christian Science Monitor. 18 August 2008. Retrieved 9 November 2009.
- Craig Hackney (18 August 2008). "Did the weight of Chinese expectation prove too much for Liu Xiang?".
- Mark Purdy (8 August 2008). "For Chinese athletes, huge expectations". Mercury News.
- David Barboza (5 August 2008). "Chinese gymnast endured childhood sacrifice". International Herald Tribune.
- Howard W. French (20 June 2008). "In Quest for Gold and Glory at Olympics, China Pressures Injured Athletes". The New York Times.
- Juliet Macur (21 June 2008). "In China's Medal Factory, Winners Cannot Quit". The New York Times.
- "Beijing Faces Big Challenge in Keeping Olympics Drug-Free". Deutsche Welle. 3 August 2008.
- kna/reuters (23 August 2008). "Ukrainischer Gewichtheber Razoronov positiv getestet". Der Spiegel.
- Matt McGrath (21 July 2008). "Concerns over Olympic drug test". BBC.
- "IOC to retest Beijing doping samples". Xinhua News Agency. 10 October 2008.
- China “One Year of My Blood” Exploitation of Migrant Construction Workers in Beijing REPORT March 2008
- "One Year of My Blood" Exploitation of Migrant Construction Workers in Beijing Human Rights Watch summary
- Gehmlich, Kerstin (22 March 2007). "Call for Olympic boycott stirs up pre-poll France". AlertNet. Reuters.
- Reeves, Eric (11 February 2007). "On Darfur, China and the 2008 Olympic Games". Sudan Tribune. Retrieved 28 March 2007.
- "China and Darfur: The Genocide Olympics?". The Washington Post. 14 December 2006. Retrieved 9 August 2008.
- "Spielberg in Darfur snub to China". BBC. 13 February 2008.
- "Steven Spielberg pulls out of Beijing Olympics role over crimes against humanity in Sudan". Daily Mail (London). 13 February 2008. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
- "China defends Darfur role, deflects Olympic warning". Reuters. 10 May 2007.
- Jane Macartney (26 May 2005). "Thousands of homes destroyed to make way for Olympic tourists". The Times (London). Retrieved 14 May 2006.
- Walt, Vivienne (16 July 2008). "Why Nobody's Boycotting Beijing". Time Inc. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
- Traynor, Ian; Watts, Jonathan (29 March 2008). "Merkel says she will not attend opening of Beijing Olympics". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 11 February 2013.
- Nick Mulvenney (19 February 2008). "Beijing says 15,000 relocated for Games venues". Reuters. Retrieved 9 August 2008.
- Fan, Maureen; Jie, Zhang (20 February 2008). "China Defends Relocation Policy". The Washington Post. Retrieved 9 August 2008.
- "Olympics: China and IOC must learn from mistakes and uphold human rights values". Amnesty International. 24 August 2008.
- "Olympics – UK athletes barred from political comments". The Guardian (London). 10 February 2008. Archived from the original on 14 February 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2008.
- "Olympic Charter" (PDF). International Olympic Committee. 16 October 2007. Retrieved 10 February 2008.
- Kosyrev, Dmitry (6 August 2008). "Beijing Olympics as a diplomatic convention". RIA Novosti. Retrieved 9 August 2008.
- "Japanese royal family will not attend opening of Beijing Olympics". Sankei Shimbun. 2 April 2008. Archived from the original on 4 April 2008. Retrieved 2 April 2008.
- "Paris sets conditions for Sarkozy to attend Olympics: report". Google. Associated Press. 5 April 2008. Retrieved 5 April 2008.
- "Sarkozy aide 'misquoted' on Games". BBC News. 5 April 2008. Retrieved 5 April 2008.
- "China 'foils Olympic terror plot'". BBC. 10 April 2008. Retrieved 9 August 2008.
- "China says 35 arrested in Olympics bomb plot". CNN. 10 April 2008. Retrieved 9 August 2008.
- "Chinese border assault kills 16". BBC. 4 August 2008. Retrieved 9 August 2008.
- Wade, Stephan (7 August 2008). "Protests, Smog Cloud Olympics a Year Out". Breitbart.com. Associated Press. Retrieved 9 August 2008.
- "Free Tibet 2008! – One World, One Dream: Free Tibet 2008". Students for a Free Tibet. Retrieved 8 January 2007.
- "Tibetan Olympics from 15 May-25". Hindustan Times. India. 20 March 2008. Retrieved 9 August 2008.
- "Repression continues in China, one month before Olympic Games". Reporters Without Borders. Retrieved 9 August 2008.
- "Olympics 2008: Taiwan presidential candidate threatens to boycott Beijing Olympics". Bangkok Post.
- Bruce Wallace (11 April 2008). "Craftsman's 16-pound Olympic boycott". Los Angeles Times. p. A-9,.
- Carassava, Anthee (24 March 2008). "Protests disrupt Olympic torch ceremony". CNN. Archived from the original on 18 May 2008. Retrieved 9 August 2008.
- Lucy Hagan (25 March 2008). "Tibet's Olympic flame of fury". The Sun (London). Retrieved 25 March 2008.
- "Tibetan exiles stage fake Olympic relay". CNN. 25 March 2008. Archived from the original on 12 June 2008. Retrieved 9 August 2008.
- "Torch's Guards Have a Link to Tibet". wsj.com. 9 April 2008.
- "Why China's Burning Mad". Time. 24 April 2008. Retrieved 26 April 2008.
- "CNN: What's wrong with you?". China Daily. 2 April 2008.
- "Carrefour Removed From Chinese Internet 30 April 2008". China Tech News.
- "Beijing allows protests but you need a permit". Shanghai Daily (China Internet Information Center). 24 July 2008. Retrieved 17 August 2008.
- "Protest application procedure piles out". China Daily (China Internet Information Center). 4 August 2008. Retrieved 17 August 2008.
- Eckert, Paul (6 August 2008). "Protesters bypass China's official protest zones". Reuters. Retrieved 17 August 2008.
- Garnaut, John (15 August 2008). "Arrest threat means protest park is for the birds". The Age (Melbourne, Australia). Retrieved 17 August 2008.
- "China sets a Catch-22 for would-be dissenters". The Baltimore Sun. 12 August 2008. Retrieved 17 August 2008.[dead link]
- Bristow, Michael (18 August 2008). "China 'yet to approve protests'". BBC News. Retrieved 22 August 2008.
- Audra Ang (18 August 2008). "China has not approved Olympic protest requests". Associated Press. Retrieved 19 August 2008.[dead link]
- Ariana Eunjung Cha (7 August 2008). "Great stonewall of China: Protest permits denied". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
- Schiller, Bill (15 August 2008). "Silence reigns in protest park". Toronto Star. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
- Kristoff, Nicholas (16 August 2008). "Malcontents Need Not Apply". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 August 2008.
- Jill Drew; Ariana Eunjung Cha (15 August 2008). "No Permits, No Protests in Beijing's Special 'Pens'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
- Ariana Eunjung Cha (6 August 2008). "China's Would-Be Protesters Denied". The Washington Post. Retrieved 17 August 2008.
- McCabe, Aileen (16 August 2008). "Games a chance for China to let guard down". Ottawa Citizen (Canwest News Service). Retrieved 16 August 2008.
- Josephine Ma (2 August 2008). "Protest-zone test case blocked in Beijing". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 17 August 2008.
- Jacobs, Andrew (13 August 2008). "Beijing's protest zones: Apply at your own risk". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
- Callick, Rowan (12 August 2008). "Olympic 'protest pens' empty". The Australian. Retrieved 17 August 2008.
- Ariana Eunjung Cha (20 August 2008). "Protest Application Brings Labor-Camp Threat, Woman Says". The Washington Post. p. A10.
- Peter Simpson (21 August 2008). "Elderly pair punished for wanting to protest". South China Morning Post. pp. A5.
- "Police Detain Would-Be Olympic Protesters". Human Rights Watch. 13 August 2008. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
- Andrew Jacobs (13 August 2008). "Specter of Arrest Deters Demonstrators in China". The New York Times.
- Andrew Jacobs (18 August 2008). "Would-Be Protesters Detained in China". The New York Times.
- Yardley, Jim (9 July 2008). "Two Concerns for Olympics – Air and Access". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 March 2010.
- Mure Dickie (30 July 2008). "China limits Olympics journalists’ web access". Financial Times.
- "Global anger at internet blockade". The Sydney Morning Herald. 1 August 2008.
- "Broadcast access to Tiananmen remains at issue". Associated Press. 13 July 2008.[dead link]
- "China plans to spy on Olympic hotel guests: US senator". Google. Agence France-Presse. 29 July 2008.
- "Sen. Brownback says China monitoring Internet access in hotels". Los Angeles Times. 30 July 2008.
- "Internet sites still blocked for Olympic reporters". Stephen Wade, Associated Press. 29 July 2008.[dead link][dead link]
- "Beijing yields in part to pressure over internet use". South China Morning Post. (subscription only)
- Maureen Fan (26 July 2008). "Olympic ticket tumult in Beijing.". The Washington Post. pp. Page A10. Retrieved 21 July 2008.
- AFP, "Police struggle to control Beijing Olympic ticket chaos." Channelnewsasia.com (25 July 2008).
- Sina. "香港記者踢傷奧運門票銷售現場警察.." Sina.com (25 July 2008)
- Elaine Wu; Kristine Kwok; Mary Ann Benitez (28 July 2008). "Bocog regrets strong-arm tactics". South China Morning Post (Hong Kong). Retrieved 31 August 2008.
- Shi, Ting (26 July 2008). "Chaotic rush for Games tickets". South China Morning Post (Hong Kong). Retrieved 31 August 2008.
- Edward Wong (7 August 2008). "China: Japan to Protest Detentions". New York Times date= 6 August 2008.
- "Chinese police rough up British TV crew at Olympics". Associated Press accessdate = 17 August 2008 (Google News). 13 August 2008.
- Rohan Sullivan (14 August 2008). "IOC tells China not to obstruct reporters". Google News. Associated Press. Retrieved 17 August 2008.[dead link]
- "IOC: China should not prevent media from reporting". The Times of India. 14 August 2008.
- Rowan Callick (26 August 2008). "Games fell short of standards". The Australian.
- Dexter Roberts, Business Week (25 August 2008). "Beijing Olympics: Adding Up the Winners and Losers". Voice of America.[dead link]
- "Hu Jia's Fate a Test of Beijing's Human Rights Stance". Human Rights Watch. 26 February 2008. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
- "Chronology of Hu Jia's Case". Human Rights Watch.
- "Blogger put in prison for criticizing the Olympic Games". The Observers by France. 15 August 2008.
- "Permission denied – housing rights activist in prison". Amnesty International. 1 April 2008.
- "US expresses concern for Chinese activists". WTOP. Associated Press. 22 August 2008.
- Stephen Hutcheon, Was China's milk scandal hushed up?, "The full list of edicts", The New Zealand Herald (15 September 2008)
- China accused over contaminated baby milk, The Daily Telegraph (15 September 2008)
- Yu Le (8 October 2008). "China milk victims may have reached 94,000". Reuters.
- China Milk Scandal Spreads; Hong Kong Girl Sickened", Bloomberg (21 September 2008)
- Al Guo, "First arrests made in tainted milk scandal", Page A4, South China Morning Post (16 September 2008)
- Kristine Kwok, "Officials knew of tainted milk for a month", Page A4, South China Morning Post (17 September 2008)
- AFP, "Has there been a cover-up, WHO asks", Page A3, South China Morning Post (19 September 2008)
- Ben Shpigel (9 February 2008). "Wary U.S. Olympians Will Bring Food to China". The New York Times.
- "China hurt over U.S. food plan for Games". CNN. 22 February 2008. Archived from the original on 25 February 2008. Retrieved 22 February 2008.
- These pictures were taken in 2005
- Demick, Barbara (12 March 2008). "Olympians air a gripe about Beijing". Los Angeles Times. pp. Page A–1.
- "Report of the IOC Evaluation Commission for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad in 2008" (PDF). International Olympic Committee. 15 May 2001. p. 62. Retrieved 18 July 2007.
- Oster, Shai (15 February 2007). "Will Beijing's Air Cast Pall Over Olympics?". The Wall Street Journal.
- Mone, Gregory. "Choking at the Olympics". Popular Science (August 2007): 33–35. ISSN 0161-7370. Lay summary – Popular Science (June 2007).
- "Promise of clean air during Olympics". BOCOG. 13 March 2007. Retrieved 16 March 2007.
- "USOC official: air quality not a concern for U.S. Olympic delegation in Beijing". BOCOG. 3 August 2007. Retrieved 3 August 2007.
- Canaves, Sky; Rhoads, Christopher (18 March 2008). "Olympic Worry in the Air". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 23 March 2008.
- "WHO fears over Beijing pollution". BBC. 17 August 2007. Retrieved 17 August 2007.
- "Gebrselassie opts out of marathon". BBC Sport. 10 March 2008.
- "Henin trying to manage asthma, might skip Olympics". ESPN. 4 August 2008. Retrieved 15 October 2008.
- Yardley, Jim (1 August 2008). "China Announces More Pollution Controls". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 March 2010.
- "China to close plants over Games". BBC. 5 July 2008.
- Yardley, Jim (29 July 2008). "Beijing Weighs Added Pollution Plans for Olympics". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 July 2008.
- "Beijing mulls emergency green plan for Games". China Daily. 28 July 2008. Retrieved 28 July 2008.
- "In pictures: Beijing pollution-watch". BBC. 2008-08-06. Retrieved 2008-08-10.
- "Sensing Air Quality at the Olympics". AP. Retrieved 2008-08-10.
- People's Republic of China State Environmental Protection Agency Air Quality Daily Newspaper Accessed on 2008-08-10
- Air quality guidelines - global update 2005 pg. 12
- "Beijing's Anti-Smog Efforts Failing, Independent Readings Suggest". Wired. 2008-08-04. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
- "China adds rules to cut pollution". International Herald Tribune. 2008-07-31. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
- "Official: air quality for Olympics Beijing's best in a decade". Xinhua News Agency. 19 August 2008.
- "Beijing Pollution Still Twice WHO Levels: Greenpeace". abs-cbn news. Agence France-Presse. 28 July 2008.
- Branigan, Tania (30 June 2008). "Chinese race to clear algae from Olympic sailing venue". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 27 August 2008.
- "Beijing promises no algae blooms in Games waters". Reuters AlertNet. 3 July 2008. Retrieved 27 August 2008.
- "China says Olympic sailing venue now algae-free". Reuters AlertNet. 15 July 2008. Retrieved 27 August 2008.
- "Officials monitor oil slick off sailing venue". Google News. Associated Press. 13 August 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2008.[dead link]
- Qian, Chen (13 August 2008). "Oil slick found near Olympic sailing venue". Shanghai Daily. Retrieved 19 August 2008.
- "Oil film off the coast will not affect Olympic sailing". Xinhua News Agency. 13 August 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2008.
- Chi-Chu Tschang (19 August 2008). "Olympic Vacancies Haunt Beijing Hotels". Business Week.
- Don Lee (22 August 2008). "Olympics disappoint China business owners". Los Angeles.
- Charles Starmer-Smith (25 July 2008). "Beijing hotels drop prices as low turn-out hits Olympic Games". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- Simon Montlake & Peter Ford (18 August 2008). "For Beijing's businesses, the Games fall short of gold". The Christian Science Monitor.
- "Empty Olympics: China Busses In Locals To Fill Beijing Seats". Sky News. 13 August 2008. Retrieved 29 August 2008.
- "Ticket scalping big in Beijing, despite empty seats". Canadian TV. 12 August 2008. Retrieved 29 August 2008.
- "Empty seats infuriate swimmers' families". The Canberra Times. 12 August 2008. Retrieved 29 August 2008.
- Jacquelin Magnay (4 August 2008). "Ticket swindle leaves trail of losers". The Sydney Morning Herald.
- Ian Hough & Alfred Branch Jr. (25 September 2008). "U.S. attorney investigates UK Olympics ticket 'Touts' and Canadian company Roadtrips.com". TicketNews.