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Beijing has unveiled two huge press centers for the summer Olympic
Beijing has unveiled two huge press centers for the summer Olympic Games, covering over 200,000 square meters, to accommodate 21,000 accredited journalists.

The Main Press Center, which China says is the largest of its kind in the world, and the International Broadcast Center, will open on July 8 and switch to round-the-clock operations on July 25, in preparation for the August 8-24 games.

"We have been planning for years for wonderful working conditions for the media. Now we have prepared wonderful facilities for the media," official news agency Xinhua quoted the head of the Olympic Media Operation Department as saying, while showing journalists round the center.

Preparations are "entering the final phase," Sun Weijia said.

The Chinese government is spending around $40 billion on Olympic venues and rebuilding related infrastructure in the capital in preparation for the Games, which it sees as a chance to trumpet the country's economic success and emergence as a major player on the world stage.

However, Beijing's PR campaign has been dealt a severe blow by the troubled Olympic torch relay, which has been interrupted by demonstrators in Athens, London, Paris and San Francisco, protesting against China's crackdown on the Tibetan pro-independence movement.

A large share of the overall spending has gone to projects aimed at reducing the city's high pollution levels, which have sparked concerns over risks to athletes' health.

The two press centers are located within a few minutes of walk of the main Olympics facilities - the National Stadium, the National Aquatics Center and the National Indoor Stadium.

The main center "provides not only broadband fixed telecommunication, but also wireless Internet services," Sun Weijia said.

China is also currently preparing for the domestic leg of the torch relay.

After receiving its warmest welcome yet in Communist North Korea, the torch will now travel to Vietnam, the final stop before entering China's special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.


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