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Housing Group Says China Continues Evictions Ahead of Olympics


A new report says the Chinese government continues to forcefully evict people from their homes as preparations expand for next year's Summer Olympics in Beijing.

The report, by the Center on Housing Rights and Evictions, said a recent trip to the Chinese capital confirmed its estimate that 1.5 million people would be displaced by the time the 2008 Games are held next August.

The Chinese government said the group had "grossly inflated" the figure.

The housing rights group said people are being forced to relocate several kilometers from their communities and businesses, increasing transportation costs and driving people further into poverty.

Meanwhile, the Beijing-based computer company Lenovo - China's only worldwide Olympic sponsor - said it would end its top-level sponsorship after next year's Games.

In a statement on its Internet site, Lenovo said it is refining its global marketing efforts, but gave no reason for ending the relationship. The company will supply 500 technicians and more than 20,000 computers for next year's Games in Beijing.

Global sponsorship is the highest level of Olympic sponsorship and limited to about a dozen companies willing to pay top dollar to associate their brands with the Olympics worldwide.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.