Part of this may be jealousy about yet another foreigner who doesn't seem to have much of his Chinese chops down who is writing a book about here (though the author's chosen topic, Olympic preparedness, seems like it will have a very short interest lifespan), but I don't really see the point of the article.
Granted, returning to Beijing, I was shocked at what it has become, so I get this:
This means that a drab, grimy, exasperating megalopolis must scramble to
become a welcoming international showpiece. Construction, demolition, and more
construction are going on 'round the clock, throughout the city.
And I'm also further starting to understand about the building of "a whole new tier of ultraluxury hotels" as I wonder who the hell is going to stay at these palaces starting in October 2008.
The rest of the article, well, is bad reporting of the type that those in Beijing for awhile are going to have to steady themselves for in the days leading up to the Olympics. Not another "China coming out" story, but referring to the Woman's World Cup as a test event for the Olympics, huh? And what does he expect for a tennis event without any big names on a weekday afternoon? Or a baseball game between France and the Czech Republic? There wouldn't be a crowd for that sort of thing anywhere in the world, let alone in Beijing. People will go to these sports during the Games, but beyond that, these test events aren't going to be hot tickets nor are they going to draw much of a crowd or test the venues at large(r) capacities.
I am confident that Beijing isn't behind schedule and other than this article from Slate, I've yet to see much talk about this anywhere else. Perhaps that's because the focus is more on pollution, human rights, and everything else, but perhaps that's because unlike four years ago, Beijing is more or less on track. Oh, but why not take yet another shot at the city's pollution...