Beijing Diary

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The Independent Online

A new school gold standard

The Chinese white goods manufacturer Haier, one of the biggest fridge makers in the world and "official white goods sponsor of the Olympics", has pledged to build one new primary school in a deprived rural area for every gold medal won by a Chinese athlete in Beijing. The incentive, run by Project Hope, kicked in once weightlifter Chen Xiexia won her gold at the weekend. Haier has already contributed £11m in schools and materials for the project, and by the end of last year, Haier had built 77 primary schools in 24 provinces, allowing 40,000 students to attend school. Some forecasters expect China to win 50 golds at the Olympics, and even the less bullish expect around 44, which would mean a lot of new schools.

Smile, police

Beijing's police have already been told to smile more, but the grim expressions of the city's constabulary show that it clearly isn't working, and an International Olympic Committee member is now taking them to task. "The police and military need to act differently. Their faces look like they are made of stone," said Gerhard Heiberg, the chairman of the IOC's marketing commission. "They're seriously scaring the foreigners in Beijing. Something has to be done. That's why I've talked to China's political authorities and the Olympics organisers at our daily meetings. I've asked them to get people to smile more," the former athlete said.

"Now I'm called the ambassador of smiles."

No smoking

A zealous Beijing anti-smoker has said he will give 10 free tickets to top Olympic events, including the men's football and volleyball competitions, to people who agree to sign a contract to give up cigarettes. Xiong Wei, who queued for hours for the tickets, told the Beijing News he would sacrifice seeing events himself to help boost the "No Smoking Olympics". Those who give up have to sign a document and Mr Xiong will then monitor them by email or by telephone.

Sex Olympics

The Sydney Olympics ran out. Athens doubled the number. So organisers of the Beijing Games are hoping 100,000 condoms will satisfy the needs of Olympic athletes. While sex is not an Olympic sport it is expected to be an activity in the Beijing village housing 10,500 athletes, all of whom are in great shape and with plenty of free time on their hands once knocked out of the Games. "There are many young, strong, single people in the athletes' village and, like everywhere, some will fall in love or other things so we need to make condoms available," said Ole Hansen, a spokesman for UNAids China.

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