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.

On Wednesday, 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 on Thursday lawyer and Beijing resident Peihua Yao reveals how she thinks hosting the games has changed the city for the better.

In the latest post, Norton Rose lawyer Steven Towell reports on improved behaviour from taxi drivers, the new vogue for queueing and how crowd chants really aren’t his strong suit.

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

‘Farewell Beijing’, Rob Metcalf
Friday 22nd August, 12.00pm

As the end of the games comes into view, those of us who have been the lucky ones to be here will have to come to terms with a return to normality.

Or rather, come to terms with a new normality, since when China wakes up on Monday morning, there will be a mighty national hangover never experienced before.

A triumphant China at the top of the medals table will be something aspired to for so long, yet it won’t rid the CCP of those niggling issues that tarnish the China brand, such as too-youthful gymnasts and the likely return of smoggy skies. And the question of how China will feel about itself once all those medals are safely in the bank, albeit with some gaping absentees, is one not only to be mused over, but one that will be affected by how the rest of the world feels about China.

Will foreign journalists still chase down stories about human rights, the Dalai Lama or environmental vandalism? They will, but not as they did before.

Yet while injured hurdler Liu Xiang still has more public penitence and contrition to plough through, there are many more in China that will be able to put his loss in perspective. And the best words to console him from the CCP will be, ‘it’s only a game’.

With the national interest served and the Olympics no longer a convenient tool to deflect criticism, there will be an opportunity for China to take a look at how it handles the longer term, now that playtime is over.

Having said that, when the Olympic flag is handed over to David Beckham on Sunday and the Olympic torch is extinguished, a squeaky ‘thank you’ from Becks may be all that’s needed to break the ice with the officiating Chinese dignitaries. And they may even have a giggle, playtime is never over for good.

Rob Metcalf is the Managing Partner of Metcalf & Q, a legal search firm
based in Beijing.

Previous blogs

‘Bellies, behaviour and Badminton’, Steven Towell
Friday 15th August, 11.30am

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

‘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