First or Equals?

The Beijing Olympics were to be the most lavish ever. China would spend $34 billion to refit the capital with sparkling new subways and 10 state-of-the-art stadiums. The spending was the plan of former Communist Party chief and former President Jiang Zemin, who took credit for Beijing's winning bid in 2001. The Olympic projects, it was hoped, would mark China's economic growth and proclaim its arrival as a world power. Now times have changed. Last week Liu Qi, president of the Beijing Olympic-organizing committee, scrapped half the planned stadiums in a demonstration of what he called "the principle of thrift." But...

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