Shanghai ensures success of Games


July 18 - Shanghai Customs yesterday announced five measures to help people coming to the city for the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games.


An estimated 40,000 athletes, coaches, referees and visitors from 160 countries and regions are expected to pass through Customs between September 26 and 28 for the Games, which will be held from October 2 to 11.


About 1,200 tons of sports equipment will also pass through Customs from next week to the middle of next month.


Bian Zuyao, deputy director of Shanghai Customs, said the five measures are aimed at providing maximum convenience for visitors.


He said a website will be used giving details about relevant laws and regulations regarding Customs clearance.


A telephone hotline (021-6889-1111) will also be set up. And online payments will be encouraged to speed up various processes.


Bian said Customs will also open special counters at its land, ocean and air entries to give priority to equipment brought in for the Games.


Special priority lanes will also be set up for visitors and volunteers will be on hand to help out.


Foreign government and Special Olympics officials will be exempt from Customs declaration.


Shanghai Customs has already granted the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games organizing committee special status to register as an institution with importing rights.


A rapid reaction mechanism will be in place to ensure smooth operation of the Games, Bian said.


He said Customs will also step up its vigilance and examination of dangerous goods such as weapons, explosives, and biological or chemical devices to guard against terrorists.


Unlike other sports meetings, the Special Olympics, first launched by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of former US President John F. Kennedy, in the 1960s for people with intellectual disabilities, is more akin to a carnival.


It has many non-sporting events such as a research symposium, a global youth summit, and a family forum, according to Su Binggong, deputy director of the executive committee of the Special Olympics.


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