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Page last updated at 13:56 GMT, Friday, 8 February 2008

Beijing begins its Olympic year

A man waves a firework to celebrate Lunar New Year in Beijing

In the final few moments of 6 February 2008, revellers near Beijing's ancient Bell and Drum Towers light fireworks to see in the Lunar New Year.

A family take pictures in front of giant model rats in Beijing

China has entered the Year of the Rat. Celebrations have had an Olympic flavour, with Friday marking six months to go until the Beijing Games begin on 8 August.

A girl poses for a photo with Chinese Olympic mascots

China's Olympic mascots, or 'Fuwas', have been ubiquitous across the country during the New Year celebrations.

Workers leave the 'Bird's Nest' stadium in Beijing

Venues in Beijing are nearing completion. The showpiece 'Bird's Nest' stadium is adorned with a red New Year's lantern for the occasion.

The exterior of Beijing's 'Water Cube' venue

At the 'Water Cube' Olympic swimming venue, a 'Good Luck Beijing' test event takes place in the run-up to New Year.

Australian and Canadian wheelchair basketball players in action in Beijing

Wheelchair basketball events are held at the National Indoor Stadium. The Paralympics begin on 8 September.

Image showing Tyson Gay on the Great Wall of China

Beijing has been on a publicity drive in recent months. This newly released image depicts men's 100m world champion Tyson Gay on the Great Wall of China.

Chinese performers at a parade in Cologne, Germany

Beijing is looking to make the most of its Olympic year. Entertainers in the German city of Cologne wear outfits bearing the message 'Beijing welcomes you'.

A floral arrangement in the shape of the Olympic Rings, in Beijing

In the build-up to Beijing, concerns have been raised over the city's pollution levels, and China's human rights record. Chinese officials, however, insist the Games will be a success.

see also
Beijing decision defended by IOC
08 Feb 08 |  Olympics
Snow-hit China welcomes New Year
07 Feb 08 |  Asia-Pacific
In Pictures: Lunar New Year
07 Feb 08 |  In Pictures
China's freezing New Year
06 Feb 08 |  World

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