BEIJING 2008: Beijing mayor Wang Qishan warned yesterday that yobbish Chinese fans and poorly planned construction might effect expectations for the 2008 Olympics.
China is staking its national prestige on the Beijing games, promising a huge building programme for sporting venues and improvements to the Chinese capital's subways and other public facilities.
"These kinds of expectations should be treated as a burden," the weekly newspaper Southern Weekend quoted Wang as saying.
Wang also expressed disdain for Chinese fans who booed during the playing of Japan's national anthem during the Asian Cup football tournament in August, hinting that he feared a repeat in 2008.
During the Japan-China football final, which Japan won, spectators "created such an uproar during the anthem that it couldn't be heard at all," the mayor said.
Chinese supporters also pelted Japanese fans with garbage and hung banners protesting over Japan's World War II aggression against China.
The mayor criticised construction plans, arguing that the 3 billion yuan Â£200 million National Stadium under construction should serve more uses.
It is slated to hold the opening and closing ceremonies as well as track and field events. Wang said that it should host football games, too.
Wang has already ordered organisers to scale back construction plans, calling for a "frugal Olympics."
But at the same time, he told the Southern Weekend that cost-cutting means that the main stadium will be roofless _ a danger if it rains.
Organisers have slowed their frantic pace of stadium construction after advice from the International Olympic Committee. They have also cut the number of new venues to be built following fears that costs might spiral out of control.
Beijing expects to spend Â£1.2 billion on sports venues, plus Â£14.5 billion on new subway lines, roads and other facilities by 2008.