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Beijing Olympics 2008 – Durham University Expertise

(7 February 2008)

As China gets ready to host the Olympics in its capital city in July, Durham University experts are exploring various issues relating to the event.

Expert on the counterfeit goods trade in China, Dr Mike Nicholson, said: “As our ongoing research continues to show, trade in counterfeit goods is a problem that is very definitely fuelled by buoyant consumer demand. “Despite China being painted as the industrial “black sheep” at the heart of this illicit consumer market, the Chinese Government is taking steps to combat the problem. “The Olympic trademark has been specifically protected in China since 2002, for instance, and on 26th April 2007 – World Intellectual Property Day –Beijing launched a 24-hour helpline for citizens to report suspected counterfeiters and destroyed tens of thousands of seized goods across the nation as a public display of intolerance.” Commenting on the politics of the Beijing Olympics, Professor James McKay said: “Holding the 2008 Olympics in Beijing is the strongest indicator of the determination by China’s elites to make sport a key aspect of international economic, political, and cultural policies. “However, hosting the Olympics could prove to be a problem for Chinese authorities. “On one hand, government officials have facilitated some of the economic freedoms necessary for China to compete in the global market. On the other hand, they still preside over a repressive political regime. “It is difficult to see how it will be possible to prevent some of the tens of thousands of foreign journalists from reporting on issues like human rights abuses, poverty, illiteracy, and environmental degradation. “This could severely undermine China’s attempts to promote itself as a progressive, civil, and humane nation.” Expert on security & surveillance issues at mega sport events, Dr Francisco R. Klauser, said: “According to the Beijing News, an extra 2000 cameras, equipped with licence plate and face recognition software, will be installed in the Chaoyang district, the home of the Olympic Stadium and other venues, to complete the already existing city-wide CCTV systems with approximately 15,000 government cameras. “Furthermore, a special military unit with wide ranging competences an d technical abilities has been set up by the Chinese government to counter terrorist and security threats. “This demonstration of strength in the scale and weight of security and surveillance operations to be expected is admittedly justified by the need to provide safe and risk free Games not only for the athletes but also for the population at large.”

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