China to Halt Swaths of Manufacturing During Olympics

Government is prepared to shut down entire sections of industry during the 2008 Summer Olympics.

The Chinese government may halt manufacturing production in several of its host cities during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing to reduce pollution, according to Platts news service. The shutdown is planned to begin 30 days prior to the games' opening ceremonies on Aug. 8.

Government officials have already let major coal-fired power stations, several steel mills and other major polluters know about the planned shutdown, sources told Platts.

The policy could slow China's economic growth. Sources estimate that about 13 gigawatts of electricity production -- almost half the size of Mexico's total production capacity -- will be closed down. Additionally, significant amounts of steel, cement, iron ore and paper-making production will cease.

Without full electricity generation, the country could aggravate an already massive electricity generation deficit. The Chinese government said in January that the gap between electricity demand and supply was already running at more than 69 gigawatts in late January.

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