Summer Olympics Tip Sheet: UH Experts Available to Discuss Human Rights, International Business Law, Health and Travel Policies and Air Quality in Beijing

Amid pollution, protests and impressive pomp and circumstance, the XXIX Summer Olympics kicked off this week in Beijing. As you pursue stories relating to the Summer Games, keep in mind these experts and story ideas from the University of Houston. Should you need assistance contacting any of the experts, please give us a call.

As the Chinese government faces growing criticism over its human rights record, more attention is being given to its approach to physical and mental illnesses. Anne S. Kimbol, a research professor at the University of Houston Law Center, can provide analysis on China's health policy and such things as travel restrictions on those with mental or contagious conditions. Reach Kimbol at 713-743-2198 or

Hosting the Games is big business for China - to the tune of more than $40 billion in preparations alone. It's all intended to showcase on the world stage how, in just a few decades, it has become an economic powerhouse. Daniel Currie, director of the Bauer College of Business Executive MBA Program in Beijing, can provide insight on international business and marketing and business law and ethics. Reach Currie at 713-743-4806 or

Just days before the opening ceremony, hotels in Beijing were reducing room prices because reservations had fallen well short of predictions, and the Beijing Tourism Administration noted a 20 percent decrease in tourists during this time last year. Joanne Yoo, assistant professor of tourism at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, can talk about the challenges to the industry presented by visa restrictions, environmental and health concerns and just plain bad press. Reach Yoo at 713-743-2416 or

There has been much discussion about the pollution in Beijing and the efforts to mitigate it, as well as how it may affect the athletes competing in the Olympics. Barry Lefer, assistant professor of atmospheric science at UH, has extensively studied air quality around the globe, including studies in Houston, Mexico City, Greenland and Antarctica. He is familiar with the issues facing Beijing and can discuss such variables as ozone, nitrogen oxides and weather conditions related to this city, as well as offer insight on potential health effects and measures that have been taken to abate the problems during the Olympics. Contact Lisa Merkl at 713-743-8192 or to be connected with Lefer.

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