In an article published today on www.insidethegames.com, the seminal webblog for staying abreast of the Olympic movement, it was reported, that an internal audit conducted by the State Council, which is China's cabinet that the Olympics made a modest profit of $145 million/88 million British sterling (1.16 billion yuan) off an expenditure of 19.3 billion yuan /1.7 million British sterling/$2.8093 billion and income of $20.5 billion yuan ( 1.8 million British sterling/$2.975 billion).
It would seem that, from the audit that the Beijing Olympics were a quite modest undertaking, compared to all Olympics since 1984. Nothing could be further from the truth. The goal of the Beijing Olympics, as seen by BOCOG and the Chinese government, was to cast the best light on China globally, give the Chinese population stars to be proud of, and no positive drug tests by Chinese athletes. Much like the Great Wall, the Beijing Olympics were to not only keep the bad guys out, but to keep the good guys, and the Chinese in and enthralled with the spectacular performances. That is why the lip synching episode in the Opening ceremony was not understood in Chinese language newspapers-why?-because the Games were a huge entertainment opportunity as well as a homage to the Chinese nation.
The overall reasoning for this audit was to show that the Beijing Olympics, contrary to the media reports, was not the most expansive Olympics in history. Media reports had suggested infrastructure expenditures of $40 billion US. As part of the Audit, the BOCOG admits to about three billion US in infrastructure costs, noting that local monies were used for infrastructure.
Where is the truth? Probably, somewhere in between....
Olympic flame, August 2008, Beijing, China, photo by Larry Eder
Anyone who spent any time in Beijing and environs would note the modernization, the constant building, especially outside of the Olympic area. Hotels, modern shopping centers could all be seen, in plain site, as one walked around Beijing. Airline crews who had flown to China, especially Beijing, for the past twenty-five years, told me that all of the old, fun places were being razed for new structures.
I stayed about an hour from the Olympic stadium, and on my daily walks in the neighborhoods ( I was never stopped), I found new shopping centers on top of old, very European and elegant shops, as well as the very local and time worn.
Western media tended to ignore peculiarly Chinese culture or eccentricities. Do not for a moment consider that I am trying to be an apologist for BOCOG nor the Chinese government. The control of the city lied with the Chinese government as did the control of the Games. Statesmanship is one thing, politics is one thing, accepting that a totalitarian government moves at a snail like pace is a fact. But that the BOCOG did not see the value in pressuring an allowance of free,peaceful demonstrations, when 70 plus requests were filed with the local authorities and none were approved, is just unacceptable.
The Beijing Games opened China and its people to the world, no doubt about it. The modest expenses noted and modest profit noted shows to a long time observer of China something quite different. The Chinese will actually use the newly acquired infrastructure, and newly built stadiums and apartments.
That $40 billion was added to infrastructure, from wonderful highways, to apartments and plazas, was not seen, by many Chinese as having anything to do with the Beijing Olympics. It was part of making China look wonderful and prosperous to the eyes of the rest of the world. Like Americans, Brits, Germans, French and other nationalities, the Chinese, whether they support the Beijing government or not, are a proud people and love their country.
The 2008 Olympics gave the world a pretty good glimpse of China. Like past Olympics, it will be fascinating to watch the changes in the country. My belief is that, no matter what the Beijing government does, change will come to this country much faster than anyone imagined, or that the government desired.
Complete story courtesy of http://www.insidethegames.com
Beijing Olympics made billion yuan profit
June 19 - Last year's Beijing Olympic Games made profit of more than one billion yuan (£88.8 million), China's state auditor announced today.
The Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee (BOCOG) had reported income of 20.5 billion yuan (£1.8 billion) and expenditure of 19.3 billion yuan (£1.7 billion)by March 15, leaving a provisional surplus of 1.16 billion yuan (£103 million), the National Audit Office said.
The audit, which covered the period from September 2008 to March of this year, "did not uncover any large losses, wasteful spending or illegal issues," the General Audit Office said in its report.
But the total bill for venue construction was expected to be 19.5 billion yuan (£1.7 billion), with most of the funds coming from local Government funding, it said.
That figure was not included in the details released today.
The venues included 36 stadiums used in the Games, and 66 training facilities, it said.
An audit official said: "The Beijing Games was not the most expensive Games ever.
"Based on fixed exchange rates, the scope of expenditure of the Beijing Games was less than the previous Games.
"At the same time as far as we are aware, the next Olympic Games budget will be bigger than the Beijing budget."
Up to 40 per cent of the Games operating revenue was provided by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the audit showed, while other income came from local sponsorship, lodging, ticketing and other revenue streams.
The operating profit would be divided between the IOC, the China Olympic Committee and the Beijing Games organising committee, it said.
Meanwhile, the Beijing Paralympic Games broke even with costs totalling 863 million yuan (£76.8 million), it said.
The audit was commissioned by the State Council, China's cabinet, based on its pre-Games pledge to hold an "honest and frugal Olympics."
Since the end of the Games, nearly four million tourists have visited the iconic Bird's Nest National Stadium, the symbol of the Beijing Olympics, bringing in up to 210 million yuan (£18.7 million) in revenue, the report said.
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