China has a lot to gain from hosting , but there are two areas that pose particular risks to the country’s image and reputation -- political dissent and the environment.
The Chinese government is no doubt taking steps to deal with both issues but a lot will depend on what happens during the games Aug. 8-24.
One big issue is “what the air looks like,” says Dwight Perkins, a Harvard University economist, who specializes in China. Perkins notes the number of automobiles has increased at “a tremendous rate.”
Beijing is known as a smoggy city and the obvious concern is that the air quality will affect the athletes. (There’s also the possibility, however, that tourists -- and to a lesser extent athletes -- will get sick because of tainted food.)
At an early November news conference, International Olympic CommitteePresident Jacques Rogge offered a vote of confidence, saying "We believe that what they are doing now will yield good results by August next year."