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KHUNYING SUPATRA MASDIT, CONVENOR, NGO FORUM ON WOMEN 95
On March 31, the China Organizing Committee informed the Convenor of the NGO Forum on Women that due to structural defects found in the gymnasium of the Beijing Workers Sports Service Center, the Committee was changing the site of the Forum to the Huairou Scenic Tourist Area, 53 kilometers from the UN Conference site.
It was immediately decided that a mission, to be led by the Convenor, would go to Beijing. The objective of the mission was to inspect possible sites for the NGO Forum on Women. The following criteria were agreed upon by the NGOs present at a strategy meeting held during the CSW: (1) accessibility and proximity to the UN Conference site; (2) adequate facilities for Forum activities; and (3) adequate hotel accommodations within a reasonable distance of the Forum site.
Prior to finalizing the dates of the mission, the Forum sent a letter to the China Organizing Committee asking for alternate sites apart from the Huairou Scenic Tourist Area. It also enumerated the basic facilities essential for the efficient running of the Forum. The letter particularly pointed to the following problems about the Huairou site: its distance to the UN Conference site, the lack of a contiguous area for the Forum, and the lack of hotel accommodations for the expected number of participants.
In response, the China Organizing Committee listed two more sites aside from Huairou that the mission would visit. These were the Capital Stadium and the National Olympic Sports Center.
Khunying Supatra Masdit led a team composed of Irene M. Santiago, Executive Director, Rosalind Harris, member of the Facilitating Committee, and Sylvia M. Ordoez, Logistics Coordinator. The mission visited Beijing from April 24 to 28, 1995. The UNDP Resident Representative in Beijing, Mr. Arthur N. Holcombe, joined the mission as an observer.
On April 24, a meeting was held to decide on the agenda of the mission. In the afternoon, the team visited the Capital Stadium and the National Olympic Sports Center. The Capital Stadium seats 12,000 and is located on six hectares beside the zoo. We were informed by the management of the Stadium that the facility was available for use by the Forum only on September 1 when it would be used for a Chinese performance as a cultural activity of the Forum. In effect, the Stadium was not available for the Forum on other days.
The next facility the team visited was the National Olympic Center, which was built for the 1990 Asian Games. The Center is across the street from the UN Conference site. The team was shown the Stadium with a seating capacity of 20,000 that is being proposed as the site of the Forum opening ceremony. We were also shown the swimming pool, the tennis courts, the gymnasium, and the track and field. We were told that the space around the Stadium and gymnasium is going to be used as a park