The New York Times reports that China has just rolled out something of a last ditch effort to clear the notoriously grimy air that hangs over Beijing in preparation for the summer Olympics. The measures will "freeze construction projects, shutter chemical plants, and close down obsolete gas stations around Beijing…Even spray painting outdoors will be banned during the weeks before and after sporting events, which begin on August 8."
In its usual fashion, the Chinese government is doing too little too late. Many athletes are contemplating training outside of Beijing during the weeks leading up to the Games in places like Hong Kong and Japan, and those who will find themselves in the city have even considered donning gas masks during practices.
Beijing residents -- as well as those in other major Chinese urban centers -- have been breathing the filth for years and will be forced to do so again once everyone else goes back home. This, China's complicity in Darfur, and Tibetan protests all make one wonder why the International Olympic Committee decided to give the Olympics to China in the first place.