The No Smoking Dance

Nobody can launch a massive nationwide propaganda campaign like the Chinese government. Whether it is to promote an event or mobilize support in favor of a new policy pronouncement, they are in a league of their own.

Today (June 1), a smoking ban goes into effect in Beijing that will outlaw smoking in all indoor public places and most outdoor settings as well. And what better way to promote it and get people behind it than the No Smoking Dance, one of a number of events held at the Bird’s Nest in Beijing.

nosmokingdance

I wish them success!

And in case you may have missed them, here are some of my past posts about smoking in China:

Smoking in the Park

No Smoking

No Smoking! Dream On

No Smoking Room Please

What are the Characters on that Sign?

Alas, It was too Good to be True

Second Hand Smoke

Image credit: ecns.com

Blizzard in the Bird’s Nest

Having successfully dazzled the world as the site of the Opening Ceremonies of the Beijing 2008 Olympics and the sporting events that followed, the Olympic Stadium, or “Bird’s Nest” as it has come to be known, has fallen on hard times.

It was originally thought (hoped, really) that the Bird’s Nest would become a top choice for national and international sporting events.  For whatever reason, that never happened and the management of the stadium (that would now be the Chinese government) find themselves trying to figure out what to do with the thing.

In the first year following the Olympics, the Birds’ Nest (and Water Cube) were able to generate revenue as a tourist attraction, with 50,000 people per day buying tickets to get in to re-live the glory.  But those numbers have dwindled significantly, making it obvious that this business model is not sustainable. Fresh, new ideas are clearly needed.

Enter Old Man Winter and the ingenuity of a bureaucrat and “PRESTO” — the Bird’s Nest becomes a Winter Wonderland.  I’m not making this up.  For the rest of the winter the Bird’s Nest is being turned into a ski area.

The Bird’s Nest as it appeared on a summer night in August 2008

This is what it looks like now (Reuters photo):

In more ways than one, it really has become a white elephant!