Sports

Beijing's Olympic legacies

(Did the Olympics go well?) I think so, I think the Chinese organizers are thrilled with the festive atmosphere and there wasn't anything that went seriously wrong. The people saw the Games, they saw the spectacle and were impressed. (What have the athletes told you?) They were impressed with the Olympic Village, with the food and transportation. One Greek high jumper said the pollution really got to her. (Did closing down those factories and sending people out of the city help reduce pollution or were they just lucky?) I think both. I haven't seen any scientific measurements of how the pollution dropped, but you could see it. (What happens now that the Games are over?) Well the Paralympics start now. (How did the Chinese fare on the issue of human rights?) Not very well. Hundreds of thousands of people in Beijing had to leave their neighborhoods for Olympic construction, they had no say in the matter and received little to no compensation. Then the government said it would allow for three protest zones during the Olympics and the government received 77 applications to hold protests in those zones by Chinese citizens and several of those citizens were detained for having applies for protests. They were told they would have to spend a year in labor camps for having the audacity to apply for protest. (What about regulations surrounding foreign journalists such as yourself?) a year and a half ago new regulations were put into force which said foreign journalists could go anywhere and talk to anyone. Before that, that wasn't the case. There was still interference, and in dozens of cases there was violence towards foreign journalists from police. This happened particularly related to protests about Tibet. (How and when China and the world know if the money it spent on the Olympics was worth it?) China is already congratulating itself on what it's calling 16 days of glory. China's leaders feel in terms of impressing the world with what China can do, it's done it. this was always for the image and for China making a statement to the world.

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This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.