Beijingers Still Need to Work on Manners for 2008

BEIJING ~ With most venues for the 2008 Summer Olympics near completion, the organizers said Beijingers still had to work on improving their behavior in order to hold a successful Games, state press said this week.

“The Olympic Games is not simply a matter of competitive sports – it is also a question of raising the quality of the people,” the China Youth Daily quoted Zhang Faqiang, vice head of the Beijing Olympic organizing committee, as saying.

“You cannot deny it – the difficult area in staging a civilized Olympics rests in the quality of the people,” Zhang said.

“We are still a ways off from meeting the demands for a real civilized Olympic Games, so we will continue to do important work on this.”

Zhang said China had only recently overcome basic issues like food shortages, and many people across the nation were only beginning to consider how to live healthier lives and be more civilized.

“We want to use the Olympics to get into the hearts of the people and get them to develop a new lifestyle,” Zhang said, while noting that “hardware” infrastructure projects were on schedule, with many venues holding test events.

Beijing has already implemented a series of measures to improve its residents’ behavior ahead of next year’s Summer Games, including campaigns cracking down on spitting, littering, queue-jumping and smoking in public.

Last weekend, the capital announced plans to start clearing beggars and other “uncivilized” elements from major underground rail stations.

Efforts to clean up the capital’s image have gone so far as to ban male taxi drivers from shaving their heads and growing beards, while women cab drivers are prohibited from sporting hairstyles that are “too fancy.”

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