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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 November 2006, 13:46 GMT
In pictures: Olympic countdown

An Olympic cultural festival in Beijing on 13 July 2006

It may still be 21 months away, but Beijing's preparations for the 2008 Olympics continue apace.

Children play in front of Olympic poster boards in Beijing

Posters advertising the Games are up around the Chinese capital.

A Chinese man in a wheelchair sells Olympic mascots in Tiananmen Square in September 2006

Olympic mascots and other merchandise are already on sale.

Children exercise at Huajiadi Experimental Primary School in Beijing on 25 October 2006

Sporting activities for both young and old are being encouraged to enthuse the country ahead of the games.

Construction at the National Olympic Stadium in Beijing

Construction of the main Olympic stadium - dubbed the bird's nest - is well under way.

A traffic policemen in Beijing during the China-Africa summit in November 2006

A recent China-Africa summit provided an ideal opportunity for the authorities to test-run possible traffic flow measures.

Plain clothes policemen pledge to crack down on crime at a ceremony at Beijing's People's Police College on 17 October 2006

Security measures are being put in place. These plain clothes policemen pledge to crack down on crime in the capital.

Workers recycle steel bars at Qianmen, central Beijing, on 2 October 2006

Beijing is being modernised. These workers recycle steel from demolished buildings and alleyways in the city centre.

Apples with Olympic patterns at a festival in Beijing on 24 October 2006

The Chinese authorities are promising an Olympic Games to remember.

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