Beijing is a city

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Beijing is a city of fluid movements: tai chi in the shadow of the Temple of Heaven; ballroom dancing in a park; pedestrians sauntering down a shopping arcade. Traffic moves with the moment. On broad avenues bicycles, donkey carts and trolley buses share the raod with taxis and pedestrians. Nobody hurries, especially not the big blue government construction trucks that haul dirt and mysterious loads under tarps.

Private car ownership in Beijing is only 10% but in a city of 13 million, that's still a lot of cars. The air is brown from pollution and walking around on a cloudy morning, before the sun can burn off the haze, induces headaches. It is one extremely unpleasant aspect of Beijing (and Xian, we're discovering this morning) that the government plans to correct before the 2008 Olympics.

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