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August 2008

Beijing, China, 1986

Beijing, China, 1986

The 2008 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, will be celebrated in Beijing, People's Republic of China from August 8 to August 24, 2008 and followed by the 2008 Summer Paralympics from September 6 to September 17.

Based on 2000 census data, the largest cities in China are the four centrally administered municipalities, which include dense urban areas, suburbs, and large rural areas: Chongqing (30.5 million), Shanghai (16.4 million), Beijing (13.5 million), and Tianjin (9.8 million).

Beijing, the capital city of China, follows the China Standard Time zone. This is 8 hours ahead of the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+8) or 13 hours ahead of Washington, D.C. Despite its size, all of China falls within one time zone.

On January 1, 1979, the Chinese Government officially adopted the pinyin system for spelling Chinese names and places in Roman letters. A system of Romanization invented by the Chinese, pinyin has long been widely used in China on street and commercial signs as well as in elementary Chinese textbooks as an aid in learning Chinese characters. The U.S. Government also has adopted the pinyin system for all names and places in China. For example, the capital of China is now spelled "Beijing" rather than "Peking."

CIA World Factbook; U.S. State Department Background Notes; LC Country Studies, 4/2008, 6/2008, 8/2006