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2008 Summer Olympics, Beijing

The Beijing National Stadium, nicknamed "The Bird's Nest"


  1. In the News
    a. Political Controversy and Human Rights Issues
    b. Environmental and Safety Concerns
    c. Human Interest
    d. Beijing Clean-up
    e. Olympic Organizational Issues
    f. After the Games
  2. Analysis and Opinion
  3. Lesson Plans
  4. Multimedia Web Resources
  5. General Web Resources


In the News

Political Controversy and Human Rights Issues

"China Olympics sued for copyright abuse"
By Mure Dickie, Financial Times, Jan. 30, 2008
--Despite its assurance that it respects intellectual property, the Beijing Olympic Games Organizing Committee is being sued for copyright infringement regarding the Games' official slogan. (Article only available with subscription)

"Chinese Dissident Watched, Then Taken"
By Audra Ang, The Associated Press, Jan. 30, 2008
--Another article about the arrest of Hu Jia that details more clearly his life and work and his wife, Zeng Jinyan's struggle to save Hu Jia and bring human rights to China.

"Visitors barred from Freedom City ‘crime' scene in Beijing"
AFP, Jan. 27, 2008
--Human rights activists Hu Jia and his wife Zeng Jinyan were arrested for voicing their hopes that the Olympics would bring democracy to China to guests over tea. This article discusses their detainment as well as that of several other human rights activists in China as part of the government's desire to remove voices of dissent before the Olympics.

"China's Genocide Olympics"
By Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times, Jan. 24, 2008
--Discusses a new movement regarding human rights and other politics linked to objections to the Beijing Olympics: rather than boycotting the games, activists are encouraging spectators, athletes, and others to peacefully protest or wear visible bands that make a stand against China's international and internal politics.

"Linking Beijing Olympics with Darfur issue 'strongly' opposed"
China View, Jan. 24, 2008
--China's response to efforts to label the 2008 Games the "Genocide Olympics".

"China Rejects Attempts to Link Developments in Burma to Beijing Olympics"
By Glenn Kessler, Washington Post, Oct. 2, 2007
--Chinese government stance on international human rights activist movement toward boycotting the Beijing Olympics. Focuses on Burma, but includes other issues.


The "Watercube" Aquatics Center and the "Bird's Nest" Stadium.
Photo by angus_mac_123


Environmental and Safety Concerns

"China plans to halt rain for Olympics"
By Barbara Dernik, Los Angeles Times, Jan. 31, 2008
--The extremes to which China will go to ensure that is has a successful Olympics marred by nothing: even Mother Nature.

"Beijing Olympics going Kosher with food safety issues driving a mini-boom"
By Stephen Wade, USA Today, Jan. 30, 2008
--Due to concern over the procurement of sanitary, safe food to serve Olympic athletes and spectators, there has been a boost in the popularity of Kosher food and Rabbis are being asked to inspect food manufacturing plants.

"Beijing Olympic water scheme drains parched farmers"
By Chris Buckley, Guardian Unlimited Sport, Jan. 23, 2008
--In a desperate bid to prove its capital is flourishing during the Olympics, water is being diverted via canals to Beijing from neighboring provinces, thereby draining farmers of their resources, destroying crops and causing them to lose their land.


Human Interest

"Secrets of the Bird's Nest"
By Jonathan Glancey, The Guardian, Feb. 11, 2008
--An inside look at the stunning Olympic stadium and everything it represents for China and the world. A positive and uplifting take on the Beijing Olympics.

"Beijing demolition protestors stand their ground"
By Ben Blanchard, Guardian Unlimited, Dec. 3, 2007
--Article about citizens of Beijing who are being forced out of their homes with little monetary compensation to make way for Olympic construction projects.

"Nearly 3,500 Chinese Named 'Olympics'"
The Associated Press, Nov. 5, 2007
--A snapshot article that further portrays China's Olympic fever and the people's desire to find a way to be unique in country of billions.

"Olympics Push Chinese Kids to the Max"
By Anita Chang, The Associated Press, Nov. 4, 2007
--An interesting article about the extent of Olympic fever in China and how far parents and grandparents will push their children to reach that Olympic dream and stand out in an enormously populated country.

"BBC Chinese stages joint Beijing Olympics Countdown debate"
BBC, June 8, 2007
--Press release giving information on a debate by Chinese citizens of Beijing about how the Olympics have/will effect their lives and their city.


Beijing Clean-up: China's efforts to show the world a positive face

"Beijing Olympic fans trained to cheer"
By Chantelle Janelle, WIS, Jan. 30, 2008
--A short blurb regarding Beijing's determination to ensure there will be no eruptions of bad manners at the Games.

"Beijing announces pre-Olympic social clean-up"
By Jonathan Watts, Guardian Unlimited, Jan. 23, 2008
--Beijing's attempt to clean-up its appearance socially as well as environmentally before the Olympics, while maintaining a humane image of its police force.


Olympic Organizational Issues

"IOC will have final word on who receives accreditation for Olympic Games"
The Canadian Press, Nov. 27, 2007
--The latest developments regarding the issue of foreign media accreditation for the 2008 Summer Olympics.

"Bibles Banned at 2008 Beijing Olympics"
CBN News, Nov. 5, 2007
--Discusses the first release listing items banned from the Olympic village which include political propaganda, video cameras, cups, and bibles. Also discusses the anticipated conflict that will result from the latter.

After the Games

Ruling Backs Chinese Gymnasts
Juliet Macur, New York Times, October 1, 2008
--All six members of the Chinese women's gymnastics team were old enough to compete at the Beijing Olympics, officials from the International Gymnastics Federations determined after a monthlong investigation, but controversy remains.

Foreign leaders congratulate China on success of Beijing Olympics
Xinhua, September 2 2008
--A Chinese paper's take on the world leaders' reaction to the games. Will give students insight into the way China seeks to control its perception through media.

China Fulfills Its Wish For Olympic Domination
Christopher Clarey, New York Times, August 24, 2008
--The final medal tally: China finished with 51 gold medals, the highest figure for any nation at an Olympics in 20 years, and it won them across a wide range of sports.


Analysis and Opinion

Rwanda: Was China Redeemed in Hosting the Olympic Games?
Tony Barigye, The New Times, September 2 2008
--Interesting opinion piece from Africa's point of view on whether or not China managed to redeem itself in the eyes of the international community through their hosting of the Olympics.

Commentary: Advice, criticism contribute to unforgettable Beijing Olympics
Xinhua, August 25 2008
--A Chinese paper's take on the Games and the “controversy” and “constructive criticism” that surrounded it. Xinhua is the official news agency of the Chinese government.

CHINA: Millennium Olympics?
By Antoaneta Bezlova, IPS, August 24, 2008
--Thorough analysis of the Beijing Games, including the controversy that lead up to the event and the event itself that asks the question; what will be the legacy of the Beijing Olympics?

2008 Beijing Olympics: The Price of National Glorification
Human Rights in China, August 24 2008
--A human rights group's analysis of the Beijing Games, including revelations about the highly discussed opening ceremony and what went on away from the cameras and eyes of the world. Also includes discussion of how the people of China will foot the bill for their government's Games.

"Too Fast, Too High, Too Strong"
By Jamie Metzl, The Washington Post, Feb. 9, 2008
--An interesting opinion essay on the strong potential for a doping disaster among Chinese Olympic athletes in Beijing that will result in the further deterioration of U.S.-China relations.

"Beijing Olympic Boycott Over Burma Will Only Alienate Chinese People"
By Xujun Eberlein, New America Media, Nov. 5, 2007
--Contains commentary from an average non-government owned mainland Chinese businessman regarding various Americans' call for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics unless China intercedes in Burma.

"A Worm's-Eye View of the Beijing Olympics"
By Wei Liu, "China Rights Forum: 2008 and Beyond", May-July, 2007
--A thorough, thoughtful and provocative essay that focuses on the response of ordinary Chinese people at home and overseas to the Beijing Olympics.
*If interested, you can find the full issue of the May-July 2007 "China Rights Forum: 2008 and Beyond" which includes numerous articles on the Beijing Olympics at:

"Jubilation on the Streets of Beijing"
Time Magazine, July 14, 2001
--A sanctioned article on the initial reaction of Chinese citizens gathered in Tiananmen Square for the government's official announcement of their bid for the Olympics back in 2001. This article presents the view that the previously listed essay opposes that the Chinese are proud and excited at the prospect of hosting the 2008 Olympic Games.

The "Olympics Diary" of a Tibetan
--A Tibetan teen's thoughts, reflections and insights on his experience of the Beijing Olympics.

Lesson Plans

"Beijing, China will host the 2008 Olympics"
--Provided by CNN with links to relevant CNN news articles and web resources, this lesson plan targets junior high and high school students and is aimed at generating a thoughtful discussion of the benefits and downsides to China's hosting the Olympic Games.

The Road to Beijing, SPICE
These two curriculum units (middle school and high school versions) are available for purchase for $34.95 from SPICE and focus on the history and geography of Beijing and the 2008 Summer Olympics. In addition, SPICE has developed an interactive website which explores the city's landscape and history. Available for loan from the AEMS Media Library.

Multimedia Web Resources

"Destination China: A Multimedia Weblog"
--This site is a project of the University of Illinois Department of Journalism and includes many useful entries (including ones on the Beijing Olympics) that will familiarize students with China and add depth to the discussion.

SPICE's Beijing Interactive Website
Allows students to explore key sites in Beijing and learn about their history. Accompanies SPICE's curriculum unit, The Road to Beijing.

General Web Resources
--Official website of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
--Human Rights Watch China page for the Beijing Olympics. Excellent resource for finding and discussing all of the issues surrounding Beijing and the relation of those issues to the Olympics. Also includes a wide array of photographs pertinent to the discussion.
--Great site that lays out the pros and cons of a potential boycott of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing side by side.
--An interesting look at how the design for the Olympic torch was chosen and how that torch was produced,,514491,00.html
--A collection of several different opinion statements during the original debate over whether or not Beijing should host the 2008 Olympics when China initially announced their bid for the Games.


Last Updated: July 27, 2012

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