Changing China

Giant on the move

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Last rush for tickets

People have been queuing for up to three days to get hold of the last tickets on sale for the Games . Check out Ian Ransom’s story from the scene and this slideshow of the best of the pictures from Reuters photographers.  

Opening ceremony fireworks

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These spectacular pictures of the fireworks during Wednesday’s rehearsal for the August 8 Olympic opening ceremony hint that it might fulfill the huge expectations the Chinese people have for it.

fworks2.jpg Fireworks explode over the National Stadium in Beijing

 

 Fireworks explode over the National Stadium, also know as the Bird's Nest, during a rehearsal for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Fireworks explode over the National Stadium during a rehearsal for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in Beijing

 

Fireworks explode over the National Stadium during a rehearsal for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in Beijing Fireworks explode over the National Stadium, also know as the Bird's Nest, during a rehearsal for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games at the Olympic Green in Beijing, July 16, 2008.

Pictures by Reinhard Krause, Jason Lee, Alfred Jin, Grace Liang and Joe Chan

 

The men who built the grand Olympic structures

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By Linjun Fan  

Officials of the Beijing organising committee wished journalists happy times at the huge Main Press Centre when it was opened a couple of weeks ago. One official remarked that reporters will be provided with everything they needed, including free massages.

The building was indeed glamorous with fancy stores and nice Chinese decorations, although I have not found the masseurs yet.

Fear and loathing on the streets of Beijing

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By Linjun Fan  

I didn’t realize how scary Beijing drivers were to overseas visitors until I came back to the city from a year in the United States.  

 I had lived in Beijing for eight years before I left for California last summer. Back then, I could cross the city’s streets without fear or anger, and just smiled when my foreign friends complained about the bad manners of Beijing drivers.

Welcome to the Olympics, please obey the regulations

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Security vehicle in Beijing

The ever-vigilant Dave Gray spotted this sticker on the back window of a car bearing the distinctive white number plate of China’s security apparatus yesterday.

“Welcome to the Olympics, please obey the regulations,” it reads. “Civilised driving gives a goiod city image”  

My son, the terrorist

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Policemen attend the rehearsal of a military drill in TaiyuanThat security would be ramped up in China before the Beijing Olympics was to be expected and is entirely normal.

My abiding memory of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City – just a few months after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. — is of removing and putting back on my heavy winter boots several times a day at security checkpoints.

What’s that on top of the Bird’s Nest?

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Photographer David Gray took his weekly trip down to the Bird’s Nest today and fortunately after couple of horribly polluted days, the skies were relatively clear. 

On top of the ’nest’ he captured this inflatable structure.

 Bird’s Nest

Bird's Nest

The stadium is now effectively shut down to visitors because of the secrecy surrounding the preparations for the opening ceremony, which everyone is expecting to be a spectacular affair.   

Explorer running with the torch

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Pupils raise their handmade model torches of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games to celebrate torch relay in China at a primary school in HuzhouWong How Man is one of China’s best known and most active explorers, whose accomplishments include an expedition that discovered a new source of the Yangtze, China’s longest river.   

More recently the Hong Kong native and his group, China Exploration & Research Society, have taken on a number of conservation projects in Tibetan areas of China — work that helped him land a spot as an Olympic torch runner last week.

Never mind the pollution, it’s the Olympic Games

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Cathy FreemanFormer Olympic champion Cathy Freeman, the darling of the Sydney Games in 2000, was in Beijing at the weekend with a few words of advice for Liu Xiang.

I also asked her about pollution and, although she is now long-retired, I think her reply might still reflect the attitude of many of the top athletes coming to Beijing. 

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