Profits might not come along with Olympic games

Hsieh Kuo-lien, The China Post

A top economic official said yesterday that it is still too early to predict whether Beijing’s triumph in winning the bid to host the 2008 Olympic games would bring economic interests to the country. Chen Po-chih, chairman of the Cabinet-level Council for Economic Planning and Development, made the remarks yesterday, when many local economists predicted that Beijing’s victory would bring tremendous profits to mainland China in the following seven years. Chen told reporters the economic development that is likely to come along with Beijing’s victory has been exaggerated in Taiwan. He said that both South Korea and Mexico had hosted the summer Olympic games, but South Korea has never achieved as well as Taiwan in economy. As to Mexico, Chen said the South American country was facing a horrible financial crisis when it hosted the summer games. Chen, who was a professor of economics at National Taiwan University, went on to say that the Olympic games had also been hosted in Los Angeles and Atlanta, but only Los Angeles performed well in economy in the last decades. Chen said that “As a result, long-term economic profits might not come along with the Olympic games.” Many officials of Chen Shui-bian administration have congratulated Beijing’s victory publicly, while they also advised people to be cautious in predicting whether the triumph would bring positive or negative effects to Taiwan.

Chen Min-tong, Vice Chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council said Saturday that relations between Taiwan and the mainland would become more stable in the future as a result of Beijing being awarded the 2008 games. Nonetheless, he cautioned Taiwan people that Beijing’s victory would change little of the nature of the communist Chinese government, which has never ruled out the use of force against Taiwan. Vice President Annette Lu also advised Taiwan people to heed the mainland’s “unfriendly attitude,” which poses a major threat to the lives, property and safety of the 23 million people on the island. Beijing’s victory came seven years after it lost to Sydney by two votes in the election for the 2000 Olympics. Human rights issues were apparently a key factor in that defeat, when Beijing was widely criticized for being responsible for the bloody 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square.