When first chosen as the venue of the 29th Summer Olympic Games in 2001, the city of Beijing was filled with immense joy and excitement. Local residents felt that Beijing is worthy of the trust and respect of the international community, because it is a city that has blended a glorious ancient past with thriving present and bright future.
With a history of more than 3,000 years, Beijing boasts numerous monuments and sites of historical and cultural significance and, as China's capital, it also serves the cultural center of the whole country, where different modern cultural trends, artistic styles and various folk art forms converge and are on display. As a major city in modern China, Beijing is also noted for its ever evolving landscape. For decades, the city has registered double-digit economic growth. This has led to the city's growing confidence to play host to the world's premier sporting event.
Since its successful bidding seven years ago, Beijing, and the Chinese nation that stands behind it, has spared no effort to prepare the Olympic stage. Not only have astronomical sums of money been thrown into building state-of-the-art sporting venues and facilities, like the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube, and upgrading local infrastructures, but enormous manpower and material resources also have been utilized to improve and beautify the environment. To reduce the pollutants and curb the haze that persists over the urban sky, the Beijing Municipal Government has shut down or relocated many pollution-inducing plants, and stopped all ongoing construction projects. Even the city's millions of private car owners have made their own contribution. In response to a government traffic control scheme, they are readily driving only on alternate days from July through September according to the odd and even numbers of their car plates, sacrificing personal convenience in return for fresher air and smoother traffic flows during the Games.
Hosting a successful Olympics is the solemn promise the municipal authorities have made to the world. But it also embodies a long-cherished dream of the Chinese people the world over. The Games will likely provide an excellent opportunity for more mutual exchanges between Chinese citizens and people from other nations, which may help the country integrate more into the global community and make it more transparent to the outside world. The city may also get a booster in development and henceforth march toward being a modern and prosperous world-class metropolis.