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BEIJING OLYMPIC GREENS: China’s Green Facade of Shrubbery

Posted By Alexandra Kain On July 29, 2008 @ 6:00 pm In Botanical,Gardening,Green Rant,Greenwashing | 11 Comments

Beijing Olympic Gardens, China Olympics, Beijing Olympics 2008, 2008 Summer Olympics, 2008 Summer Olympic Games, China humanitarian issues, China human rights, free Tibet, Chinese government human rights abuse, human rights abuse China, Olympic games protests, Olympic protests, Beijing Olympics protests [1]

In preparation for the 2008 Summer Olympics [2] Beijing has festooned the Olympic grounds with lush sculptures portraying a greener version of China [3] than we’re used to seeing. Over the last few decades China has become a country of rampant unbridled consumption (not unlike the U.S.), leading to devastating environmental consequences with little to no government regulations. Pollution is at its acme in Beijing and the wider world is pretty well aware of this problem. So what is China doing about these serious environment issues? From these eyecatching photos it appears Beijing is trying to attack (or obfuscate?) the problem with a little bit of shrubbery!

Beijing Olympic Gardens, China Olympics, Beijing Olympics 2008, 2008 Summer Olympics, 2008 Summer Olympic Games, China humanitarian issues, China human rights, free Tibet, Chinese government human rights abuse, human rights abuse China, Olympic games protests, Olympic protests, Beijing Olympics protests

Since their nomination as the 2008 Olympic host city this issue, along with humanitarian concerns [4], has been thrust into the limelight. Many nations have expressed concerns [5] for the health of their participating athletes and protests have run rampant [6] worldwide. China’s main response has been pettifogging (in addition to some last-minute, half-hearted attempts to quickly clean the air) [5].

Beijing Olympic Gardens, China Olympics, Beijing Olympics 2008, 2008 Summer Olympics, 2008 Summer Olympic Games, China humanitarian issues, China human rights, free Tibet, Chinese government human rights abuse, human rights abuse China, Olympic games protests, Olympic protests, Beijing Olympics protests

The Chinese government has, for the most part, neglected this and other issues [6], by cloaking them in facades of reform and distraction. Case in point, the Beijing Olympic Gardens exhibit masterful design and scrupulous landscaping, obfuscating the issue of pollution altogether. While we can appreciate the artistry and care involved in creating the garden, we were hoping for a more proactive approach to cleaning up the city as it sets the stage for our world’s greatest athletes. In the end, Beijing’s attempt at greening has only left us jaded…. and perhaps mildly impressed with their shrubbery skills. Next time we need a topiary designer, we know who to call. Sadly, the 2008 Beijing Olympics could have been such a big opportunity for reform that this superficial gesture just seems a bit silly.

+ Beijing Olympic Garden [7]

Tip via Richard Seereni and photos (sent by Richard) Secret Garden [8]? We’re not 100% sure, but if you are let us know!


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URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.inhabitat.com/2008/07/29/beijings-facade-of-shrubbery/

[2] 2008 Summer Olympics: http://en.beijing2008.cn/

[3] China: http://www.trycards.com/calling-cards/China

[4] humanitarian concerns: http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/report/china-one-thousand-protesters-unaccounted-tibet-lock-down-20080620

[5] concerns: http://www.inhabitat.com/2008/07/22/transportation-tuesday-chinas-olympic-dream-faces-pollution-woes/

[6] protests have run rampant: http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2008/07/23/nepal19446.htm

[7] + Beijing Olympic Garden: http://en.beijing2008.cn/news/olympiccities/beijing/n214485813.shtml

[8] Secret Garden: http://blog.bitcomet.com/leanjee/post_24724/

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