With the U.S. Olympic Trials for track and swimming now complete, it’s a good time to look at how the Olympic Games are affecting China. Besides the protests surrounding the conflict with Tibet and the massive tourism increase that China will see from the Olympics, some Chinese citizens will also be out of work for a couple months.
According to The New York Times, the city of Tianjin (located about 70 miles east of Beijing) has ordered 40 factories to suspend some operations for two months in order to improve the air quality during the Olympics.
The details around these closings are very unclear, and don’t address whether or not these workers will still be compensated for the time their factories are closed. In either case, I’d be shocked if China was prepared for everything that has happened so far as a result of hosting the Olympics, and wouldn’t be surprised if there’s many Chinese leaders that would have preferred to avoid this altogether.
Just look at what’s happened over the past year:
1. Protestors supporting Tibet have put out the Olympic flame, and have held demonstrations during some of the most publicized parts of the torch relay. (Presidential candidate Barack Obama says he’s going to boycott the Olympics if more progress isn’t made on the Tibet issue)
2. Internet privacy has become an issue and China has had to ensure the Olympic Committee that it would allow all athletes and media to have full internet access during the games.
3. China’s human rights issues have been given the spotlight in the media.
4. Some of China’s factories have to close down in order to decrease the pollution around the Olympic sites. The pollution is so bad that some countries are worried about bringing their athletes to Beijing too far in advance of their events.
Can you imagine running a marathon in that city with that much pollution? What’s your take on China as the Olympics quickly approach?