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Blogging Beijing

The 2008 Summer Olympics will punctuate three decades of development and test China's global legitimacy. They've already transformed the way millions of people think and live. Seattleite and Fulbright researcher Daniel Beekman brings you Beijing.

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June 7, 2008 5:53 AM

New Olympics, old Peking

Posted by Daniel Beekman

A Qianmen hutong district scene (photo credit: Everywhere Magazine)

This spring, I penned a travel story for Everywhere Magazine. My assignment: acquaint the magazine's globe-trotting readers with what's left of pre-1978 Beijing. I profiled six sites - White Cloud (Taoist) Temple, Jingshan Park, Guo Morou's Former Courtyard Residence, the Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution, Qianmen hutong district and Beijing's Ancient Observatory.

A hundred years ago, Beijing was an imperial village - a jumble of narrow, stone alleys winding towards the East's most imposing palace. Gugong (the Forbidden City) remains China's symbolic center and the heart of 21st century Beijing. But Beijing is no longer an imperial village. It's an economic miracle, a cosmopolitan boomtown and the host of the 2008 Summer Olympics. In 1979, Deng Xiaoping opened China to the world. In 2001, Beijing won the right to host this summer's Games. Seven years, 2.7 billion square feet of construction, 11 new sports venues and a US$2.8 billion airport later, Beijing is a global city and a city transformed. Still, this was China's capital for five centuries. There are sites yet where an informed visitor may experience Old Peking.

- from 'New Olympics, Old Peking' (May/June Everywhere Magazine)

Check out the full story - plus photos - here.

If you're planning a summer trip to China, check out the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee's new legal guidelines for visitors from abroad. On June 2, the committee listed six types of foreigners who will not be welcome during the Games. Here's the list (translated and posted on Danwei):

1. People who have been deported or prohibited from entering China by the Chinese government.
2. Those who are suspected might commit acts of terrorism, violence or subversion after entering China.
3. Those who are suspected might engage in smuggling, drug dealing or prostitution after entering China
4. Those suffering from mental disorders or insanity, sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis or other infectious diseases.
5. Those who cannot guarantee their ability to support themselves financially while in China.
6. Those who are suspected might engage in any acts that threaten the security or interests of China.

The United States embassy in China has compiled an 'Olympics 2008' fact sheet for American citizens. Beijing bound? Then check it out.


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