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  Words in the News
  There were celebrations in Beijing as the Chinese capital was awarded the 2008 Olympic Games. Duncan Hewitt reported.
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Olympic fans

16th July 2001

Beijing gets 2008 Olympics

  Audio Listen to the first part of the report

Fireworks lit up the Beijing sky and there was joy among the crowds who'd gathered to watch the announcement from Moscow on huge public video screens. After Beijing's narrow defeat by Sydney eight years ago, the authorities had appealed for calm before the announcement was made, but a massive media campaign has stirred popular enthusiasm for a victory which Beijing's bid committee described as the century-old dream of the Chinese nation.

The press are portraying Beijing's success as a sign that China has come of age as a member of the international community. For many of the citizens of the Chinese capital, what may be more important is the massive infrastructure spending programme promised by the city government, which some hope will bring long-overdue improvements to Beijing's sewers, roads and public transport network.

    Audio Listen to the words

joy - a feeling of great happiness

narrow defeat -
if you defeat someone, you win a victory over them. Narrow defeat means to lose by a small number of votes

appealed for calm
- suggested that people don't get too excited

stirred popular enthusiasm - created a great eagerness to be involved amongst the people

come of age - matured and been accepted as a member of the international community

infrastructure - essential facilities such as roads, energy resources and administrative systems

long-overdue improvements - improvements which should have been made a long time ago

sewers - underground channel that carries away waste

NEWS 2    Audio Listen to the second part of the report
    Some locals, though, have questioned the vast expense. Others are worried that their homes will be knocked down as part of the city's reconstruction. And human-rights groups have warned that the decision will only give further legitimacy to what they see as a repressive government -- yet the Chinese authorities insist that the Games will lead to improvements in the country's human-rights situation.

And in a nation which takes its international prestige very seriously, there's no doubting the enthusiasm among many members of the public, particularly China's sports-obsessed young generation. Others, however, will be watching closely to see whether Beijing can live up to its promises both of creating a better urban environment and of allowing what its bid committee said would be unfettered foreign media access to China both before and during the 2008 Olympics.
    Audio Listen to the words

reconstruction - rebuilding

human-rights groups - a group that fights for human freedom

legitimacy - if something has legitimacy it is seen as being acceptable

a repressive government - a government which uses force and unjust laws to restrict and control its people

international prestige - to be respected by people around the world

urban - belonging or relating to a town or city

unfettered - unrestricted, not controlled

    Read about the background to this story in BBC News Online

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