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Beijing Gets an Olympic-Sized Makeover: In 8 Easy Steps!

Beijing will be dressed to impress this August when the world turns its attention east for the Summer Olympics. Radar lists eight changes in its July/August issue that China is making to ensure the city is picture perfect when the cameras go on.

  1. Reduced traffic
    To avoid unsightly traffic, the Chinese government will only let half of Beijing's drivers on its streets. How will they decide who gets to drive? Even- and odd-numbered license plates will alternate days. See, life is fair.
  2. Less spitting
    China's government is known for its oppressive quirks, but that does not include prohibiting spitting in the street. Until now. Fines and tissues will be handed to the defiant.
  3. Fewer felines
    Apparently, Beijing is like one giant cat lady. And that never did my image any good, so I can see why China is concerned. To reduce the city's overpopulated kitty sidewalks, the government launched an aggressive campaign to ensure people know the truth about cats. You know, like how they carry SARS. Scared pet owners have been sending their beloved fluffies to cat death camps.

There are more upgrades afoot. To see what else is going on,


  1. Cloudless skies
    You know what they say! It never rains in Beijing when they hire scientists to shoot silver iodide-filled rockets into clouds from 21 locations to preempt summer showers.
  2. No knockoffs
    Take your counterfeit Olympic gear back to Canal Street. Officials are patrolling the streets, particularly looking out for unauthorized use of the Olympic logo. Make sure your new mug has all five Olympic rings!
  3. Orderly lines
    Since China is a Communist country, it surprises me that standing in line never really took off. But there you have it. Preferring to nudge their way to the front, Beijingers have been learning the letter queue for over a year now with monthly, government-induced practice.
  4. No turtle blood
    Competitive athletes take note: Turtle blood — and deer penis — can be used as performance-enhancing drugs. Just not in Beijing this August.
  5. No Chinglish
    Bad translations can be so much fun — "slip and fall down carefully" — but for a city in primping mode they are an embarrassment. Unfortunately, a 35-person committee is "caretaking" this problem.

Looks like once they get these eight woes under control, they'll be good to go for 08/08/08 . . . right? Are cosmetic changes like these eclipsing the greater human rights concerns? If China is shiny on the outside, will people overlook deeper trouble?


Join The Conversation
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
Purple Team :notworthy: Welcome Welcome Welcome. A logical person!!
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 9 years
I'm sorry, but the "Deformed Man Toilet" sign is really funny...:rotfl:
PurpleTeam PurpleTeam 9 years
It's not a stereotype to say that these foods are eaten in China! A stereotypical comment would be "All Chinese people eat turtles". No one said that. No one is generalizing all Chinese people. Everyone knows that it is wrong to generalize people; however, you're the only person doing that. If the cartoon was a generalization of Chinese people, it would be appropriate for every single person in the cartoon to be simultaneously eating turtles. This would exemplify the concept that "All Chinese people eat turtles". The fact that only one person is doing that suggests "some people in China eat turtles". Do you dispute this? Let's face it, telling people they're racist makes you feel good. Like you stand for something. Did you ever realize that everyone can see through your mock indignation? If you can't, it's because you're deluded.
gitsie123 gitsie123 9 years
What's offensive is making stereotypes about certain cultures. The ones who need to "grow a brain" are those who are not aware that generalizing a certain type of people is wrong. What does turning off your computers to respect the Amish have anything to do with this discussion? Caterpillargirl- That is such a clever and insightful comment. Where did you come up with it?
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
political correctness is tyranny in disguise.
PurpleTeam PurpleTeam 9 years
Let's all unplug our computers out of respect for Amish people. It is a FACT that cats, dogs and turtles are served as cuisine in China. They aren't a staple of peoples everyday diet, but if you walk through a meat market in Beijing, it's likely you'll see these animals for sale. You might also see fried baby chickens, bullfrogs, grasshoppers, snakes, testicles and hearts from various animals. This is Common Knowledge, to anyone who has ever traveled to asia, or read about doing so. I personally don't find the fact that these foods are consumed offensive in the least. People from different cultures eat different foods, and because of conversely find each others' tastes bizarre. If you're offended by that, you're living in a small world and fixating on small problems. Grow a brain.
winniebaby winniebaby 9 years
I think the larger picture would be the hundreds of thousands of people suffering from the aftermath of the 8.0 earthquake without houses to live in.... and also the flood victims there. If we really wanted to do something to help, those are the victims who need our immediate attention. Yes, there is a lot of "cleaning up" that China is doing to prepare for the Olympics. It is a huge event and a source of national pride for the people. Think of when you are having a huge party at your house, don't you try to clean up your house, mow the lawn, make sure everything looks nice for your guests? This is what China is doing. Isn't this what we all do? I just want people to be aware that the comments made, however, non-ill intentioned, can be hurtful. Cartoons and comments like this about other races would never be tolerated. Concern about the Chinese government's human rights issues should not mask the type of comments made about the Chinese people.
CitizenSugar CitizenSugar 9 years
Hi there, absolutely it's a tricky issue. The bigger world criticism I saw from the original article in Radar is not that the changes being made in China, are being made to make their culture "right"--it's that there's an element in world society that led someone to believe these changes need to be made to make them "ready" for their debut. That's the part of the criticism I found interesting. It's looking at the cultural differences for differences sake, not making a judgment call on them. The cartoon just accompanied the piece. I'm honestly curious if the cosmetic changes being made, are distracting from the larger human rights issues.
colleenb colleenb 9 years
I don't think Westernizing Beijing for two weeks is a change for the better that's what is so funny about this. The cartoon is from Radar magazine and it went with this article there.
stephley stephley 9 years
Its a cartoon that illustrates changes Chinese officials are making -cartoons exaggerate to make their point, and the only real exaggeration here is the turtle head. How is showing people not in a straight line offensive, or spitting since spitting is only just now being banned?
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
The picture is directly related to the article, so I do not think they were trying to be offensive.
gitsie123 gitsie123 9 years
To answer your question if there is a possibility of offending a certain culture, then I dont think it should be posted.
gitsie123 gitsie123 9 years
What are you debating Undave? All the comments I have read are making fun and assuming that the Chinese culture consists of eating cats and dogs and drinking turtle blood.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
OK, who drew the picture? Is CS wrong to bring a picture to this place for debate? Do we have to sidestep everything that someone might find offensive?
winniebaby winniebaby 9 years
I think this is actually quite offensive. We all have cultural differences. What might seem normal to other people, might not seem normal to us. What is our right to judge other cultures? Also, shouldn't it be noted that the Chinese people are making an effort to make changes for the "better" to accommodate and welcome their guests for the Olympics? Why are their efforts being ridiculed? As for the turtle, it is actually not common at all to eat/drink them, or whatever it is that is pictured. Most people in China have not and do not even want to eat that... These stereotypes are offensive and uncalled for. CitizenSugar, I am extremely disappointed in this post.
gitsie123 gitsie123 9 years
That picture is kind of offensive, don't you think? CitizenSugar, why would you post a cartoon that makes such derogatory generalizations about Chinese people?
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
Or like that's what ALL turtles like to do...
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
and notice that in the second picture the turtle is riding happily on the man's shoulder, like the man had NEVER tried to bite his head off.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
you are a nut UnDave! :) what IS happening to the poor kitties? sigh.
brookrene brookrene 9 years
poor poor kitties, i dont think i'd chance eating ANY meat if i were over there. you know...just in case, blegh!
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
They have even managed to add color to their otherwise sepia-toned existence. The Chinese are truly an incredible people.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Dear penis! Oh $#!+ I mean..Deer penis is a performance enhancer?! You know what I have to say is better left unsaid ;-)> LMAO! No Chinglish. Well at least they'll be able to drive more freely on unspoiled streets no cats to cross their paths under clear blue skies comfortably sporting the latest designer gear meeting their destination in an orderly fashion no blood and no Chinglish to spoil the day.
blondie01 blondie01 9 years
this is nuts! I would definitely avoid the street food caterpillargirl :rotfl:
CitizenSugar CitizenSugar 9 years
I'm bookmarking that site right now. I bet that's an amazing read.
colleenb colleenb 9 years
On the toilets — "There will be selective inspections every week and the results will be posted on the website of the Municipal Utilities Administration Commission"
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