China Falls Behind on Olympic Promises

Despite vows, not much change on air quality, political freedom
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2008 2:25 PM CDT
The skyline along one of Beijing's main avenues is obscured by pollution in the Chinese capital Tuesday, July 17, 2007.    (AP Photo/Elizabeth Dalziel)
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(Newser) – With exactly a month to go before the Olympics, China has not delivered on promises to improve Beijing’s air quality or allow foreign journalists open access, the BBC reports. The government vowed to bring Beijing’s air up to WHO standards when bidding for the Games, but a BBC test showed the city over the pollution limit 6 days out of 7.

The government insists the air will be up to snuff by the start of the Games, thanks to emergency measures that will halt construction and take many cars off the streets. China also continues to face criticism from rights groups. Human Rights Watch slammed Beijing in statements for continuing to restrict foreign reporters, who still cannot enter “forbidden zones” such as Tibet.