Wang Qishan


PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 April, 2006, 12:00am


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Beijing has been radically transformed since it won the Olympic bid, with much of the old town reduced to rubble in the dash to build a modern capital, but the destruction isn't happening quickly enough for the city's mayor Wang Qishan. 'The demolition of poor and dilapidated neighbourhoods must be accelerated. It is an essential task for this year,' he told officials and construction workers. Hundreds of thousands of people have already been moved out of their old homes and into high rises as part of the 'New Beijing, Great Olympics' plan. Wang said that as part of the efforts to build a 'livable city' one-third of the poor inner city district earmarked for development had already been razed, with the rest due to be completed by year's end.


The western Japanese port city of Fukuoka has pledged to break the tradition of big-city Olympics after announcing its bid to host the 2016 Summer Games in competition with Tokyo. 'We regard the 2012 London Games as the last of the 20th-century-style Olympics,' said renowned architect Arata Isozaki, a spokesman for the city's bid. 'After the 1936 'Nazi Games', nearly 90 per cent of the Olympics have been held in capitals or big cities of similar size and used to boost the prestige of the host countries. This trend deviates from the true principle of the Olympics,' he said. 'If we manage to host the Olympics, it will give hope to all the countries that have not hosted the Olympics, including those in South America, Africa and the Middle East.'