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Beijing Olympics to welcome more NOCs and heads of state than ever
17:20, August 04, 2008

The number of countries and regions to join the Beijing Olympics, to open in a few days, will be the largest in history. Beijing also expects to receive more heads of state and sovereign representatives than during previous Olympics.

At the press conference today on August 4, officials from the BOCOG, the organizing committee, released that 205 national Olympic committees would bring delegations of 16,000 athletes and team officials to the Beijing Olympics.

Up until August 3, 158 delegations have checked into the Olympic Village. Among the 63 delegations to compete in the Olympic sailing events in the eastern coastal city of Qingdao, 56 of them have checked into the Olympic Village there. Of the 43 equestrian delegations, 33 of them have already checked into Hong Kong's Olympic Village.

The visa policy will facilitate the entry of the Olympic Family. In line with international practice, Olympic Family members can enter the Chinese mainland multiple times from July 8 to September 23 with IOC cards or other required documents. A visa is not needed in such cases.

To help accredited persons who have not reserved IOC card in time or are unable to apply for a visa with short notice, a 24-hour hotline - 86-10-66699778 - has been put into service. There are also helpdesks at Terminal 2 and 3 of the Beijing Capital International Airport.

Language will not be a problem. Liaison officers and personnel all have good command of foreign language communication skills. In addition, a multi-lingual service center is in place where 44 languages can be interpreted.

Apart from sport ministers of countries around the world, aproximately 80-90 heads of state and sovereign representatives will attend the Beijing Olympics. The specific number is still subject to further contact and confirmation between the foreign ministries of China and other countries. But according to the press conference, it is certain that this number will be the largest in the history of the Olympics.

By People's Daily Online

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