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Olympic Village Opens in Beijing


The Olympic Village in Beijing is now open, well ahead of the upcoming Summer Games. Developers of the complex say they are proud of its environmentally friendly design and they say the technology could be a model for future residential developments across China. Sam Beattie reports from Beijing for VOA.

These apartments in the 2008 Olympic Village will be home to the athletes competing in Games during their stay in Beijing.

Liu Rong from the construction firm, Guoao Investment and Development, says the Olympic Village is unique because of its environmentally friendly design, “The harmony between culture, architecture and the environment has been achieved through the green residential area -- the village with its world leading technology, as a showcase to the world, the distinguishing characteristic of the high level Olympic Games," Rong said.

The Chinese Olympic Committee says solar power will be used to generate at least some of the lighting and hot water production in the Olympic Village. It also says there will be a system for collecting and reusing rain water. And all toilets will be equipped with water-saving technology.

Officials also say the athletes will be able to drink water from the tap. Elsewhere in China, the government admits up to 300 million rural residents do not have access to clean drinking water.

Parts of the Olympic Village are still being built. Officials promise large green spaces in the residential area, and they are counting on the design to spur similar construction projects across China.

"People will be looking at the Olympic Village and the Olympics throughout this country as the blueprint and the model to continue on throughout the nation," Jeff Ruffolo, who is a senior official with the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee, said.

The Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee says more than 10,000 athletes will stay at the Olympic Village -- two people to a room, three or four rooms to an apartment.

For the journalists touring the complex it was a tight fit. But officials say these apartments will be big enough for Chinese families. The plan is to sell them off for residential use after the Games.