Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Beijing's Face-Lift

china_lead.jpgBeijing's aggressive face-lift for the Olympic games includes shooting silver-iodide filled rockets into the sky to control rainfall, and feline extermination.

I knew China was undergoing a major makeover in preparation of the Olympics (air pollution comes to mind), but after watching the 60 Minutes report on Mao Tse Tung and reading this article (below) in Radar I became saddened/frightened.

I'll admit some changes are positive, like how city officials are clamping down on counterfeit products, imposing high fines for spitting on the street, and encouraging Beijingers to "adopt a more linear way of thinking" ie, forming lines (the walk down Canal Street can be KILLER on the way to work, let me tell you), but I'd say that some of the means for these changes are a bit...extreme?

Reduced traffic
To avoid unglamorous congestion, the government will allow only half of Beijing's drivers to hit the streets on any given day, depending on whether their license plates end in odd or even numbers.
Less spitting

Convincing Beijingers to repress their loogies is like convincing Americans to give up Red Lobster, but determined officials are imposing a steep fine of up to 50 yuan and mobilizing a volunteer army to "offer" tissues to defiant hockers.

Fewer felines

To reduce the city's unsightly clutter of 500,000 cats, officials have been aggressively disseminating info that cats carry diseases like SARS. As a result, panicked citizens are abandoning their beloved pets to kitty death camps—and, in the case of one overzealous kindergarten teacher, beating strays senseless.
Cloudless skies

With the opening ceremonies facing a 47 percent chance of precipitation, Chinese scientists are ready to preemptively fire silver-iodide-filled rockets into approaching clouds from 21 locations, making them rain before any important people get wet.
No knockoffs

Mindful of China's copycat reputation, officials are patrolling the streets to stamp out counterfeit products, especially those making unauthorized use of the Games logo. Already in jail: the huckster hawking fake Olympic coins and the hapless entrepreneurs who conjured up the not particularly athletic-sounding Olympic Tobacco.
Orderly lines

While most Westerners queue up patiently for movies and roller coasters, the Chinese prefer to scrum and jostle. City officials are "encouraging" Beijingers to adopt a more linear way of thinking during the Olympics (and have been training the citizenry since 2007 with a monthly Queuing Day). Line cutting will not be tolerated.
No turtle blood

Even Chinese athletes are being constrained. Though these jocks have long favored turtle blood and deer penis as quaint, organic alternatives to performance-enhancing drugs, the government is clamping down. Turns out these local delicacies may contain substances banned by the IOC.
No Chinglish

A humorless 35-person committee is correcting mangled English translations of Chinese signs and menu items ("government abuse chicken," anyone?), forcing residents to mangle English in the privacy of their own homes. (via Radar)

A visitor walks down a once historical street that belongs to Beijing's oldest neighbourhoods but has now been turned into the city's newest tourist attraction on June 17, 2008. Beijing city and local banks have poured 9.2 billion yuan (1.3 billion USD) into restoration work on Qianmen Street, they claim that their goal is to restore it to its former glory a century ago during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), however critics have charged that the street has been turned into a Disney-style version of old China that bears little resemblence to reality. (via Big Picture)


Anonymous said...

ML, its yo frien' postin, MM. Apparently the 35-person committee took off a little more than they can chew (ha..)
Check out some excerpts off a translated menu here, which was photographed in Beijing in the past week (cant hyperlink to it, sorry). Maybe someone amongst the humorless 35 is having a good laugh, afterall.

301: Old Beijing -- Meat broken The bean dregs
302: Old Beijing -- Stinky Tofu
304: Old Beijing -- Explosion belly
306: Old Beijing -- Fried Enema

The fried enema was going for about 10 RMB, or close to 1.50$ US. MMMM

Pan Tostado said...

Checkitout - Beijing Night Life: http://www.preik.no/08/08/05/beijing-night-life-natives-streets-girls-clubs-26391

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J said...

Just so you know, there is no streaking at the Olympics.


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