Beijing 2008

Beijing’s Beijing 2008 blog covers the games from the lawyer’s perspective, with posts from lawyers and other legal professionals in the city on the Olympic events, the gossip, the law firms and the atmosphere.

The blog began with a surprisingly clean post from Beijing-based legal recruiter Rob Metcalf on, er, the women’s volleyball and how to chant ‘Go Beer!” in Mandarin, while Christoph Hezel of Taylor Wessing followed with news of a new area of control for the people’s party.

Yesterday, Clifford Chance’s Mary Kok gave an insider’s perspective on the athlete experience regarding her daughter, Chinese swimming champion Stephanie Au Hoi Shun, while below lawyer and Beijing resident Peihua Yao reveals how she thinks hosting the games has changed the city for the better.

To send us your own Olympic blog or photo, email me: Jon Parker, web editor

‘China’s IPO’
, Peihua Yao
Thursday 14th August, 10am

Peihua Yao is an associate in Clifford Chance’s corporate practice in Beijing. A native of Taiyun, in Shanxi Province, she attended Peking

University and now calls Beijing home.

I’ve lived in Beijing for over 12 years now, so I’ve lived with Olympic preparations since their earliest days.

Now that it’s here, it’s a great festival for the people of Beijing.

I live close to the Olympic Park and am very close to the media accommodation, so I’ve got used to seeing fleets of journalists in their official cars each morning.

I’ve also got used to the security checks – on the subway and, as Clifford Chance’s office is beside a hotel housing Olympic officials, extra checks on arrival at work – and we even had the office swept by sniffer dogs a few days before the Games.

I didn’t attend the Opening Ceremony – like most people, I crammed into a friend’s flat to watch the event – but on Monday I’m heading to the “Bird’s Nest” stadium for the first time.

I have tickets to watch the 110m hurdles, and will be cheering for China’s Liu Xiang, a favourite for gold in that event.

Physically, the city has changed hugely in the run up to the games – there are new buildings, public transport has been upgraded – but Beijing people have also changed, learning to be friendlier and more open-minded.

When I first came here 12 years ago and got on the subway, you paid your money, you got your ticket and that was that, but now we exchange “pleases” “thank yous” and smiles.

It’s been like this for the two years leading up to the Games, so in one sense, the Olympics have changed local attitudes for good.

We’ve also seen some subtler but equally significant changes.

Journalists can now interview whoever they like, as long as the interviewee agrees, and the government has also established three protest areas where people can express their views – our own Olympic versions of London’s Speaker’s Corner.

The Olympics are basically a grand IPO for China – our opportunity to present a whole new China to the rest of the world – and are a fitting climax to the 30 years of development since the country opened up in 1978.

It’s a proud moment.

Previous blogs

‘From courtroom to pool’, Mary Kok
Wednesday 13th August, 11am

‘Points to remember’, Christoph Hezel
Tuesday 12th August, 11am

‘Go Beer!’, Rob Metcalf
Monday 11th August, 3pm