SCMP Monday, July 16, 2001

Locals pleased with Beijing's triumph


Updated at 2.39pm, Saturday:
Hong Kong residents were jubilant on Saturday over Beijing's successful bid to host the 2008 Olympics, but some critics voiced concerns over the mainland's human rights record.
As many as 100 people lined up outside post offices Saturday morning to buy new stamps issued by Beijing, Macau and Hong Kong to commemorate the mainland's victory. The previous evening, several thousand people had gathered in spots around the territory and roared with joy as the news broke.
''We win,'' trumpeted a headline on the mass circulation Chinese-language Apple Daily in its Saturday-morning edition. Other papers featured colorful photos of fireworks, lion dances and revelers in the capital, including a man who had glued two tiny Chinese flags to his face.
''I have always hoped that Beijing would win,'' said Lau Siu-yuen, 43, a taxi driver who stayed up until early Saturday morning to watch a live broadcast of Beijing's triumph. ''I wish I were in Beijing celebrating with the dancing crowds.''
Mr Lau said the Chinese people were as joyful as they were when Hong Kong reverted to Chinese rule four years ago.
Yet, some newspaper editorials urged the mainland to improve its human rights record, under attack by its competitors during the Olympics bid.
The Chinese-language newspaper Ming Pao wrote that it was looking forward to seeing a ''more open'' Beijing in seven years' time and that it hoped Chinese authorities would honour their pledge to improve press freedom.