This is IN THE NEWS in
VOA Special English.
After seven years of
preparations, the Summer Olympic Games have opened in Beijing, China. An opening ceremony and lighting of the
Olympic cauldron marked the official start of the games on Friday.
More than ten thousand
athletes will compete in the summer games.
They will take part in more than three hundred events in twenty-eight
sports. About twenty-five thousand members
of the media are reporting on the games.
Chinese President Hu
Jintao welcomed leaders from around the world to a special celebration
meal. He said the Chinese government
and people have been fulfilling promises made to the international community
when Beijing was chosen to host the games.
However, human rights
issues, pollution and the ability of the media to freely report have caused
criticism and tension leading up to the Olympics.
China is hoping the
criticism will be replaced by excitement for what many believe is the greatest
sports event in the world. This year's
theme is "One World, One Dream." The
idea is to unite the world in the spirit of the Olympics.
China is promising a
safe and peaceful Olympics. The
government increased security after a deadly attack on police earlier this week
in the far western Xinjiang province.
China has spent more
than forty billion dollars on structural improvements for the Olympic
games. Earlier this week, some people
protested the destruction of their homes to make way for new buildings.
There have been many
other protests. China expelled two Americans and two British citizens for
demonstrating Wednesday near the main Olympic structure. The four members of "Students for a Free
Tibet" hung signs calling for freedom in Tibet.
detained three American Christian human rights activists Thursday after they
protested for a second day in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.
In addition, China
cancelled a visa for American athlete Joey Cheek hours before he was to leave
for Beijing. Mister Cheek has
criticized China's support for the Sudanese government and had planned to
demonstrate on the issue.
President Bush is
expected to discuss human rights issues with Chinese President Hu Jintao when
they meet on Sunday. Mister Bush
attended the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.
surrounding the Olympics in Beijing is air pollution. The city has some of the most polluted air in the world. However, the International Olympic
Committee's medical commission chief said the air is not a threat to
visitors. Four members of the United
States cycling team apologized after wearing protective face coverings when
then arrived in the city. Pollution
caused the Chinese government to ban more than three million vehicles from
roads each day. It also shut down
factories during the games.
that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English, written by Brianna Blake. You can read and listen to our reports on
our Web site, voaspecialenglish.com.
I'm Steve Ember.