Beijing Olympics to Preserve Old City

Beijing is to keep its promise to preserve the city's historical look despite big construction program for the 2008 Olympic Games, reaffirmed an official in Beijing on Tuesday.

Wang Wei, secretary general of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG), told a press conference that Beijing is making sure that both the old city and the citizens are taken good care of.

"A month ago we published Olympic Action Plan... one (of the nine sub-plans under the general Action Plan) concerns the cultural relics protection, making sure the old city is well protected," said Wang.

At the same time the citizens, whose old homes must give place to Olympic venues, are protected under a packaged program for the resettlement of theirs, according to Wang.

The number of these would-be-resettled citizens is small and it is assured that "every citizen is well-resettled," added Wang.

Beijing launched the Olympic Action Plan on March 28.

Liu Qi, mayor of Beijing and president of the BOCOG, told the Action Plan-release press conference last month that Beijing is trying its best to preserve the city's historic and cultural sites, and buildings and relics although it needs a great amount of infrastructure projects to get ready for the Games.

Liu told reporters that some related regulations have already been put in place in the city with a history of more than three thousand years. "This suggested that protection of the historical sites and relics has been put on a legalized basis," said Liu.

Shan Jixiang, director of Beijing's Municipal Planning Commission, told Xinhua that the city has already spent some 330 million yuan (about 39.76 million US dollars) within the past three years, in projects for protecting and renovating more than 100 historical and cultural sites.

The upcoming renovation of the Forbidden City will cost 700 million yuan (about 84.34 million US dollars), a greatest input since 1911, Shan added.

"Of course maybe there is a little problem here and there," said Wang. "But we will make sure that everybody is happy," he added.

People's Daily Online ---