A Reader: The 2010 Asian Games

The PR folks for the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou have added China Beat to their mailing list, so we got their note this week about organizers' plans to seed clouds to prevent rain during the Games. Our interest was piqued--we hadn't heard much yet about the 2010 Asian Games. Here are a few of the things we found when we went looking...
1. As with the Olympic preparations in Beijing, there is massive construction, investment, and environmental management (not just cloud-seeding) underway in Guangzhou, according to Xinhua:
Authorities are pumping in more than 58 billion yuan (8.5 billion U.S. dollars) to boost the transportation system and protect the environment as Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, is preparing for the 16th Asian Games next November. ...

The latest projects include a large urban metro subway network consisting of eight lines, to be completed before the opening of the sporting event. ...

On the environmental front, Yang Liu, deputy director of Guangzhou environmental protection bureau, said the city had set a goal to ensure as many as 361 days of better air quality next year.

Air quality in the city improved in the first five months of this year, with 37 fewer days of haze and dust than in the same period of last year, the newspaper said.

"But the task of ensuring better air quality during the Games remains tough," Yang said.

To fight the problem, authorities plan to raise up to 1.8 billion yuan in private funds to complement public funding toward improving air quality.

"As many as 32 highly polluting chemical plants will be removed or ordered to stop production by the end of this year," he said.

Similarly, 38 sewage treatment facilities are scheduled to be built before the Games' opening next year, with an added sewage treatment capacity of 2.25 million tonnes a day, sources with the Guangzhou water affairs bureau said.
2. The Games will sponsor a variety of cultural events along the theme of “Thrilling Games, Harmonious Asia” (激情盛会,和谐亚洲), to build excitement as the countdown to the Games begins:
At the one-year countdown, GAGOC will invite people from across Asia to meet in Guangzhou to celebrate the anniversary date for the 2010 Asian Games … and at the 100-day countdown, GAGOC will announce a new promotion “Guangzhou is ready”, while the Games’ Theme Song, Torchbearers’ Song.

Also underway is the nation-wide Asian Games Cheerleader Selection Contest, which is expected to attract more than 100,000 participants from over 300 cities. The top 30 cheerleading teams, with final approval from GAGOC, will perform in a number of venues during the Asian Games.
3. Dragon Boat Racing and Cricket will be added to the Asian Games for the first time in Guangzhou.

4. The torch relay for the Games, titled “Road of Asia," is already underway, with officials telling the Macau Daily Times that the Games are already the "best Asian Games until now":
The campaign has been on tour since its launch in Kuwait in early March and has already travelled through Pakistan, Malasya, Thailand, Vietnam and the Phillipines before arriving to its final destination in Guangzhou, in November in time for the one-year countdown to the 16th Asian Games.

“Road of Asia” consists of three routes and transportation means, aimed to bring toghether all Asian regions that will take part in the 2010 Asian Games. Thus, air, sea and land routes will propagate Guangzhou's Asian Games expectations, reaching out to everyone, everywhere.

According to GAGOC top officials, the 16th Asian Games are already close to completion and have already exceeded all expectations, becoming the “best Asian Games until now”.
5. We've saved the best detail for last. You may have been wondering about the little guys at the top of this post. Please meet the mascots for the 2010 Asian Games, the "five sporty goats," as one news report dubbed them (the GAGOC website calls them "sporty and cute"), Le yangyang 乐羊羊. The mascots are a play on one of Guangzhou's nicknames, "City of Goats" (羊城); you can read more background at the official website for the Games and also see there a lot more drawings of the goats being sporty (a la fuwa).