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Premier promises clean, scenic Beijing during and after Olympics
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08:33, August 04, 2008

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· Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Sunday promised to maintain a clean, green and beautiful Beijing during and after the Olympic Games.

Five days ahead of the Games, Wen visited athletes in training as well as volunteers and utility workers.

"China is a responsible country. We will fulfill the promises we made for the Olympics. We will not only host a quality and unique Games, but build a more scenic, greener and more civilized city in a sustainable manner," he said.

NBA star Yao Ming(left), on behalf of Chinese basketball team, presents Premier Wen Jiabao with a basketball signed by the whole squad.

Through the efforts of the whole society, China would host a grand sport event that satisfied the world, the athletes and audiences, he said.

On Sunday morning, Wen, with senior officials of the Beijing Organizing Committee of the 29th Olympic Games (BOCOG) Liu Qi, Liu Yandong and Guo Jinlong, visited the Beijing Olympic Basketball Gymnasium in the west of the city.

China's men's national basketball team was training in the stadium. Wen shook hands with the players and coaches, including the NBA star Yao Ming, who had recovered from his left foot injury.

"Are you feeling well? Is your foot okay?" Wen asked China's most famous basketball player.

"I loved playing basketball when I was a kid. It is still my favorite game," Wen said, joining the players to shoot hoops.

The Chinese team will play its Olympic debut against the United States on Aug. 10.

"Your first game will attract great attention. What you need is confidence and composure. No matter you win or lose, it is important to play with a sporting spirit," Wen said. "I hope you can win glory, dignity and friendship, displaying the true personality of Chinese."

The team presented Wen with a basketball signed by the whole squad and Wen also signed the ball with which he had played.

He also met with volunteers working at the stadium and encouraged them to serve "in a careful and serious manner with a strong sense of responsibility".

Wen's next stop was the Dajing neighborhood near the Fengtai Sports Center Softball Field to hold the Olympic softball events.

Old buildings in the neighborhood have been renovated, trees and grass planted and sport facilities built for residents.

Wen dropped in at the house of Shi Lin, who told him he was quite happy about the changes in his neighborhood.

The city's efforts to develop infrastructure and protect the environment had improved living conditions, he said.

"The Games are very short, but what is left behind will last," Wen said. "I, together with Liu Qi (Beijing party chief), promise that Beijing will stay as clean as now after the Olympics."

Noting that many local people were Olympic volunteers, Wen expressed appreciation for their efforts to keep the city safe and stable and to serve the visitors.

About 1 million Beijing residents have volunteered.

Later Wen visited a power plant of the China Huadian Corporation, which is to supply electricity for the Games. The plant, fueled by natural gas, has adopted eco-friendly technologies, including a cooling system that uses recycled water.

As Wen was overseeing preparatory work in western and southern Beijing, about 8,000 technicians were busy testing information services for the Games in the Digital Beijing Building, a comprehensive information facility in the city's north near the National Stadium, or Bird's Nest.

They are to provide technical services for 31 competition venues, 15 non-competition venues and venues in co-host cities in upcoming five days.

"There is no second chance for us. Once the Games start, our work has to be successful," said Yang Yichun, director of the BOCOG Technology Department. "We are confident of technical support."

On the street near the Bird's Nest, a police motorcycle escort team was launched on Sunday to lead the way for Olympic-related vehicles and cavalcades.

South of the Bird's Nest, Han Rubing and her family were getting their home ready as one of the Olympic home-stay families.

She and her husband had been improving their cooking skills.

"I hope my home can be a small window for foreigners to learn about China and the Chinese," said the university teacher.

Meanwhile, thousands of miles from Beijing, the Olympic torch started its three-day relay in southwestern Sichuan Province, which was devastated by the May 12 earthquake.

At the first stop Guang'an, people shouted "Go China" and "Go Sichuan" after one-minute silent tribute for earthquake victims.

Sichuan will be the last stop before the torch reaches Beijing.

Source: Xinhua

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