China's Olympic Warmup

A year before Beijing hosts the Summer Games, the country is feverishly preparing for its chance to show it is ready to take its place among the Great Powers — on its own terms

Kadir van Lohuizen / NOOR for TIME

Older buildings are being replaced by sometimes astonishing creations, like Rem Koolhaas' cantilevered towers for CCTV (Chinese state TV).

Beijing is boiling. A year before China's capital hosts the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, its economy is swelling at an annual rate of 12%. Skyscrapers and vast shopping malls are springing up alongside the 28 million new trees that have been planted in an attempt to counteract the 3 million vehicles that clog the city's streets and whose fumes contribute to pollution so bad that new arrivals invariably develop a racking cough that can plague them for months. More than anything else, perhaps, it is the human tide sweeping Beijing that is remaking the city, with migrant workers from tiny villages...

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