Saturday, July 19, 2008

China, Roads, Pollution etc.

Did anyone watch Ted Koppel's China documentary on Discovery Channel? [birds chirping].

While at Sorenson last weekend, I decided to have an early night and ended up watching some part of it (30 minutes out of a significant 8 or so hours over multiple days).

According to the documentary, China is modeling its road system on the Eisenhower model, so the country is building massive road system- bridges, tunnels and roads go up quick and efficiently. So people in the countryside can more easily access the cities.

So here is interesting caveat to the road building. The air of the country is so polluted that dramatic measures must be put in place to have the air ready for the 8/8/08 start of the Olympics. Given the ability to be innovative, its rather unimpressive that China falls back on old, pollution driven models instead of creating a model for efficiency and minimizing air pollution.

And in the Communist Olympic spirit, China is making it increasingly difficult to get in the country and once you are in, you are subject to multiple searches, ostensibly to prevent terrorism, BUT ALSO to prevent demonstrations and any Tibetan flags from entering the country.

Having said all of that President Bush says it would be offensive to the Chinese to pull out, and based on this NYT article, we owe the Chinese because they helped bring the 1984 Olympics together. We skipped the Olympics in 1980, by 1990 USSR as we know it was gone. Does this mean we should skip China's Olympics so that the real change can happen or will the country change because we participate? I am not sure the answer, but I will err on the side of the athletes who work hard to compete and the wonderful Olympic spirit that tends to bring the world together every four years. I love the Olympics almost as much as I love the Tour, so I can not wait to cheer on my fellow Americans!

More resources:
Article on barring "threatening" entertainers.
Air pollution/time changes/humidity could hurt traveling athletes.
The algae is ok to swim in, according to Chinese authorities.
Thank goodness for lack of free speech rights in China, because if you are a sponsor you will have preference for ad space in the Country.

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