Documentation:Open Case Studies/FRST522/Assessing the efforts in stakeholder engagement, and consequences of, the 2008 Beijing Olympics, China: lessons learned and recommendations

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Beijing is the city that clearly holds the Olympic Games in accordance with the principle of sustainable development. Coordinating the relationship between sports and the environment and making contributions to the sustainable development of human society is one of the goals of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Thus, Beijing implemented the ambitious Olympic Action Plan to provide solutions to address several of serious environmental problems. The Olympic Games provide an unprecedented opportunity for Beijing's environmental protection cause, which will have a positive impact on improving the city's environmental quality, promoting ecological environment construction, enhancing public environmental awareness and improving the city's capacity for sustainable development. However, as a long-lived, large-scale and complex global sports event, the preparation and holding process of the Olympic Games will inevitably produce disturbance to the elements of the natural environment, increasing the pressure on the environmental and social issue. It includes not only macro aspects such as politics, economy, culture and environment, but also micro aspects such as venue construction, urban development, social ethos and citizen mentality. How to engage the different stakeholder to achieve the goal was under discussion and put effort for long period. 


Beijing is the capital city of the People's Republic of China and a world-famous historic and cultural city. As the national political, economic, transportation and cultural center, Beijing is well-known by its rich tourism resources, including more than 200 tourist attractions and scenic spots, like the world's largest palace Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Beihai Royal Garden, Summer Palace, Badaling Reserve, Great Wall and the world's largest siheyuan Gongwangfu. According to the data from Beijing Municipal Bureau of Tourism, there are 7,309 cultural relics and historical sites within the city (China Beyond Your Imagination, 2018). Beijing is located in the north of the North China Plain. The land area of the city is 16,410 square kilometers. The plain area is 6,338 square kilometers, accounting for 38.6%. The mountainous area covers 10,072 square kilometers, accounting for 61.4%. The topography of Beijing is high in the northwest, low in the southeast (He, Shi, Chen, Zhou, 2001). 


July 13, 2001 is a memorable day for both China and Beijing. In Moscow, Russia, the President of the international Olympic committee, Juan Antonio Samaranch, announced that Beijing would be the host city for the 29th summer Olympics in 2008. This is the first time that China has hosted the summer Olympic Games, and it is the third Asian country to hold the summer Olympic Games after the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games and the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.  

The Olympic Games are so important to Beijing that on October 11, 2001, the Beijing municipal people's government issued the Beijing municipal intellectual property protection regulations to address the city's serious environmental problems. On July 13, 2002, the Beijing Olympic action plan, jointly formulated by the Beijing municipal government and the Beijing Olympic organizing committee, was officially released. The two themes of "new Beijing, new Olympics" and the three concepts of "green Olympics, high-tech Olympics and people's Olympics" were proposed. 

It took six years to prepare for the Beijing Olympics. The preparatory work can be divided into three main stages. 

Pre-preparation: from December 2001 to June 2003. At this stage, the task is to form a leading organization for the Olympic Games; To formulate and implement the Olympic action plan; Formulate the overall work plan for the Beijing Olympic Games, establish formal working contact with the ioc coordination commission, and conduct consultations on the construction of venues, market development and competition projects. Fully implement the preliminary work and construction preparation of Olympic venues and facilities; Construction of environmental protection facilities, urban infrastructure and a number of cultural and tourist facilities began; The market development work starts and runs. 

Comprehensive construction stage: from July 2003 to June 2006. During this period, the construction of Olympic venues, market development, publicity and culture, volunteer recruitment and training, games services, competition organization and technical support will be fully carried out; Work on both market development and venue construction will come to a climax and more than 90% of the construction and development tasks will be completed. At that time, the Olympic park and Wukesong Sports Center and most of the venues will present a new look before people. 

Test completion and official operation: from July 2006 to 2008. At this stage, all the venues and facilities of the Olympic Games will meet the requirements of the Olympic Games. The organizing committee will check, adjust, test and test all construction projects and preparations to ensure normal operation. Over the past two years, a number of competitions will be organized to optimize the operation of venues and various facilities, enable the management and service personnel to accumulate more experience and make the ecological and cultural environment of the whole city meet the requirements of hosting the Olympic Games.

Tenure arrangement

In China, all the land are owned by the state, the same situation can be found in Beijing as well. There are three forms of Chinese woodland: the first is state owned, the second is collective owned, and the third is individual owned forest. In accordance with the law, state-owned forestland, trees and forests are used by state-owned units, which have no ownership of forestland. If the forest is natural forest, there is no ownership of trees. If citizens or legal persons in accordance with the law to develop forestry use the collective forestland, they shall have the right to use the forestland and the ownership of trees and forests as agreed in the contract. In Beijing, the traditional tourism star-rated hotel and hotel project is approved, and the land lease term is 40 years. This kind of project does not belong to the real estate development, and it is generally not allowed to be divided and sold according to the commercial housing model. The commercial land for tourism within China's national or provincial tourism resort has a lease term of 40 or 50 years. Due to different policies to encourage investment, some of the land can be sold separately according to the real estate development mode and commercial housing mode. For urban commercial land, the land lease term is 40 years, which is allowed to be sold in the real estate development mode, but subject to relevant regulations. Tourism real estate projects with commercial land properties are generally suitable for the construction of tourist star-rated hotels, business hotels, economic hotels, resort hotels and other investment activities with hotel management as the main purpose. 

Administrative arrangements

Beijing Research Institute of Environmental Protection

The responsibility of BRIEP is to carry out scientific research on the environment. It includes the engagement in the research and development of technologies and equipment for environmental pollution control. They work to undertake the detection of atmospheric, water, noise and other pollution sources in the city and provide the society with technical services such as environmental engineering design and contracting, environmental consultation and training, environmental planning, environmental assessment, environmental analysis and testing, soil testing, soil environmental protection technology research and development and service. 

Beijing Environmental Protection Monitoring Center

BEPMC is to be responsible for organizing and implementing environmental quality monitoring, including pollution source supervision monitoring and emergency monitoring of environmental pollution events within the city. It works to undertake the construction, operation and quality management of the environmental monitoring network, collect and manage the environmental monitoring data, and conduct the investigation, evaluation and comprehensive analysis of the environmental conditions. It is also responsible for technical training of environmental monitoring personnel, carry out scientific research in the field of environmental monitoring, and undertake technical regulations and methods of environmental monitoring as well as international cooperation and exchanges. Lastly, it undertakes other technical support of environmental monitoring entrusted by the environmental protection department. 

Beijing Environmental Protection Publicity Education Center

BEPPEDC founded for the public education purpose, which is responsible for the air quality of Beijing broadcasting on TV, news photos, as well as the production of public service ads work. It organizes environmental protection publicity materials, publicity and participation in environmental protection in this municipality news work, be responsible for the management of the Beijing environmental protection public sites and maintenance, responsible for the system of education training work, guiding non-governmental environmental protection organizations and volunteers to participate in the environmental protection work. 


Beijing Olympic Games has three core organizations: organizing committee, central government, local government. These three institutions account for most of the flow of relationships in the network. Of course, stakeholders could form a fourth core force. In general, the major sporting events in the case focus on these core members. The network of stakeholders of national and regional sports events forms a flat and diversified structure, and the organizations that occupy a large number of relationships flow in the network include the organizing committee of the competition, government agencies, local enterprises, athletes and regional sports organizations. Participants include volunteers, venues and sponsors.  

Affected Stakeholders

There are three groups of people in stakeholder’s analysis. Firstly, the governance group, including organizing committee, central government, local government, play as the most important stakeholder, which have the power. Secondly, scientists, forester, environmentalist, ecologist, sociologist and political consultant are the groups of involved people who provide the technical and knowledge support. They have the influence in the decision-making as well in the round table discussion with governance group. The last one are local people, tourists and audience.  

Governance group

In the governance group, the management department has to achieve the goal about ecological restoration and environment improvement as promised. Meanwhile, the construction in the Olympic Game is essential as well. How to set a balance between these two factors become one of the most important discussion before the event.  

Supporting group

2008 Beijing Olympic Games is a perfect time to apply the project and exercise to make the theoretical plan into the real actions. According to the characteristics of Beijing, environmental scientists divided the outstanding environmental problems related to the Olympic Games into five research projects, including environmental quality and pollution emission, energy, transportation, ecological habitat and land use, and venue construction. These studies eventually help Beijing improve its urban environmental quality and promote ecological environment construction. From August 8 to September 24, 2008, the Olympic and paralympic games were held in Beijing. In the months leading up to the opening, the city adopted strong measures to curb air pollution, including closing factories, restricting vehicles, planting rain, blocking construction sites and even shutting down roadside barbecue stands. The study showed that the measures reduced Beijing's SO2 (sulphur dioxide) concentration by 60 per cent, CO (carbon monoxide) by 48 per cent, NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) by 43 per cent and particulate matter PM2.5 levels by significantly. And, the experts on the problems in the track and field events in the actual establishment and years of practice in the future in high temperature and high humidity proposed to carry out the work: according to the marathon and walking time and route, to forecast the weather during the 2008 Olympic Games, and provide the basis for the adaptability of targeted training; The study on the time of high temperature and high humidity acclimation provides a scientific basis for determining how long in advance the training of high temperature and high humidity adaptability. The training load arrangement under high temperature and high humidity is studied to determine the scientific setting and monitoring of training load under different climatic conditions and training purposes. Special research is made on the specific problem of high temperature and high humidity of key athletes to improve the pertinence of training, cooling measures and nutritious diet. 

Affected group

Local people and related general public in 2008 Beijing Olympic Games are the direct affected stakeholder and benefit receiver. The Olympics offer an unprecedented opportunity for Beijing to make a positive impact in terms of increasing public awareness of the environment and improving the city's capacity for sustainable development. And, it also has the promotion effect to Beijing citizen's health. One of the studies, published online April 28 in the academic journal Environmental Health Perspectives, shows that air quality in Beijing has improved dramatically since pollution was brought under control during the 2008 Olympics. The babies born immediately after the games weighed more on average and were in better health. On May 12, one of the authors of the paper, China environmental science research institute researcher at the state key laboratory of environmental benchmark and risk assessment Jingliang Zhang tell surging news (, they found that during the Beijing Olympics just in 8 months pregnant women during pregnancy, they gave birth to the baby or babies born during the same period in 2009 than in 2007 the average birth weight is heavier, increased 23 grams. The change was linked to a drop in air pollution levels and a significant improvement in air quality during the Olympics. The results showed that the reduction of the concentration of major atmospheric pollutants -- PM2.5, SO2, NO2 and CO -- was related to the increase of the weight of Olympic babies. 

Interested Outside Stakeholders

The most important interested outside stakeholders in this case is the commercial group, including construction companies, real estate companies, energy companies, environmental companies, travel companies and local small businesses. They provide financial support and there are economic interests between them and the government and they are the biggest economic gainers during the Beijing Olympics. The people live in the other cities in and out of China will also benefit from the Olympic in some way.  

To contain the embarrassing pollution problem during the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese government has decided to shut down a number of factories in northern China ahead of the games. To reduce air pollution, six provinces and autonomous regions in north China - hebei, Inner Mongolia, shandong, shanxi, tianjin and Beijing - are already working to clean up polluting factories and limit the production of power stations. The six provinces and autonomous regions are larger in total than France, Germany and Italy combined. Although the source of pollution is far from Beijing, it is one of the causes of thick smog in the capital. In early 2008, a number of cement, coke and small steel enterprises were eliminated in Beijing, tianjin and hebei, with a completion rate of more than 70 percent. In addition, Beijing has taken measures to improve air quality, such as restricting cars and suspending construction before the Olympics. At the same time, the government will take measures to limit the pollution emissions of large enterprises and some motor vehicles on the roads. In addition, many construction projects in Beijing began to be suspended in May of that year. While China has long needed to shut down these heavily polluting enterprises, local governments have been unimpressed by concerns about local employment and economic growth. The Chinese government has been promoting environmental protection across the country, and in the less-industrialized north China, the closure of polluting industries has been accelerated by the Olympics. Olympic host cities such as Athens, Seoul and Los Angeles have also taken steps during the games to limit road use and close factories, according to Holger Preuss, an Olympic scholar at Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany. But it is far less powerful than China's. China has probably taken the most extensive environmental measures of any Olympics. 

However, the shutdown could have major economic implications for the region around Beijing, as could large companies such as Beijing Eastern Petrochemical Co. The company, owned by China Petrochemical Corp., is the country's largest producer of polyvinyl acetate. One of the companies affected is a factory owned by Oriental petrochemicals in southeast Beijing. The plant will be closed by the end of June 2008. This factory has about one thousand employees. The factory was temporarily closed in May of that year, according to workers. 

Beijing will also close more than 40 polluting enterprises this year, according to the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Industrial Development. Last year, Beijing shut 29 factories, including in industries such as cement and paper, as required by the Olympics. A total of $3 million will be paid to 18 companies that voluntarily shut down, according to a department official. The closures are aimed at improving air quality in Beijing ahead of the games. 

The Tianjin  government also said in a press release that it would reduce sulfur dioxide emissions from power plants by 800 tons by May 10, 2008, in line with the Olympic action. In fact, some plans to cut emissions have been in the works for a long time. For example, a steel plant owned by the Shougang Group was relocated to caofeidian, hebei province. Shougang group, a major polluter in Beijing, should be subsidized by the government. Shougang also said it would cut output in half this year, and it could start shutting down production months before the games begin. 


The Olympic Games and related activities have a significant impact on the ecological environment construction and resource utilization of Beijing, and the overall performance is significantly promoted the ecological protection and construction of Beijing. However, it does not mean that everything applying in this process all have the benefit effect. For example, the game related activities has directly and indirectly affected the change of land use pattern in Beijing, which is reflected in the expansion of urban and rural construction land, the adjustment of the internal structure of agriculture, the reduction of cultivated land and the increase of forest land and garden land. The protection of biological diversity in Beijing is directly and indirectly promoted, which is embodied in the increase of the area of natural reserves and wetlands, the enhancement of the protection of wildlife species in the protected areas and urban green spaces, but also the indirect invasion of alien species. 


The evaluation of the impact of the whole Olympic Games covers the preparation stage after the successful bid for the Olympic Games in 2001, the holding stage from the opening of the Olympic village in July 2008 to the end of the games on September 20, 2008 and the subsequent Olympic impact stage to the end of 2010. Environmental impact assessments for the games are also divided into pre-assessment and post-assessment. The evaluation of such a significant social event should not only focus on a temporary observation, but should be evaluated on a relatively long time scale.

According to the analysis of GreenPeace, overall, the Beijing organizing committee and Beijing municipal government in the past 10 years, has been using the preparations for the Olympic opportunity, actively promote environmental policies and measures, at the same time of high economic growth, stability and reduce the emissions of pollutants, improves the city infrastructure construction, left for Beijing a considerable Olympic legacy. However, due to the lack of public information and civil society participation, compared with the environmental work of the new south wales (NSW) government before and during the 2000 Olympic Games, Beijing's efforts for the green Olympics are not comprehensive enough and still need to be encouraged. Part of Beijing's environmental goals for the "green Olympics" promised by its bid.  

However, there is no denying that the "green Olympics" environmental goals promised by Beijing's bid for the Olympic Games have been basically achieved after the games. During the 2008 Olympic Games, Beijing had good air quality, meeting the national standards and who guidelines. Meanwhile, the Beijing municipal government has promised to continue its efforts to improve air quality throughout the year after the Olympics. Beijing's use of natural gas will increase fivefold in 2007. All urban life changed to use clean energy. In the Olympic village and competition venues, the maximum use of wind power generation, geothermal and solar energy to provide hot water, make full use of natural lighting, in order to reduce energy consumption. Beijing will implement stricter emission standards for motor vehicles in 2007, reducing emissions from new vehicles by 60 percent.


Since 2000, through propaganda and implementation of "green Olympics" concept, the preparation for the Olympic Games in Beijing tried to follow the protection of resources, protect the environment and protect the ecological balance of the sustainable development thought, to promote Beijing's environmental protection infrastructure construction and ecological environment improvement, enhance the capacity of urban sustainable development, etc. The positive impact of the Olympic Games are increasingly apparent, this is should be fully recognized. At the same time, however, it should also be noted that the positive environmental impacts of the Olympics are faced with great challenges that are offset by the negative environmental impacts caused by the large scale of urban socio-economic activities. The increasing urban population size, the built-up area and the increasing economic activity level lead to the rising pollution load of life, the increasing traffic congestion and emission pressure, the increase of water and energy demand and the rise of greenhouse gas emission, all of which will be the resource and environmental issues that Beijing will continue to face after the Olympic Games. To improve the efficiency of resource and environment utilization, maintain the necessary input in the field of ecological and environmental protection, and control the total population scale, so that Beijing will truly enter the ranks of international advanced cities in the construction of sustainable ecological cities, it still needs to make great efforts continuously.


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