Experts are "calling the 2008 Beijing Olympics a 'coming-out' party for the world's most populous nation. National and municipal governments are investing billions of dollars in sports venues such as the Bird's Nest in Beijing, the modernist national stadium currently under construction; subway-line extensions, and other infrastructure improvements to make the games a world-class spectacle.
But some wonder whether... air pollution will crash China's Olympic party and focus world attention on deepening environmental problems that threaten the country's economic growth."
"...China is far behind peer countries in air quality standards. According to the World Bank, 16 cities in the world with the worst air pollution are located in China. The country's Ministry of Science and Technology has estimated that 50,000 newborn babies a year die from the effects of air pollution. Tens of thousands of factories in the Pearl River Delta, an area where U.S. retailers like Wal-Mart source products for stores, are blamed for polluting Hong Kong. Some have suggested closing the factories in the days before the Hong Kong marathon as a way to help reduce the pollution."