Newswise — As China prepares to welcome athletes from around the globe for the Summer Olympics in Beijing, interest in the games and the world's most populous country is reaching new heights.

From China's rapidly growing economy to its national identity to what effect the Olympics have on host cities, several University of Wisconsin-Madison scholars can serve as valuable sources for stories leading up to and during the Summer Games.

Wei Dong, professor of design studies, can discuss his work with a team that studied Chinese architecture, landscape, interior design, and Feng Shui development in China, specifically aimed at sites of significant historic value, and has become a framework for guidelines developed by the Center of Chinese Architecture.

Edward Friedman, professor of political science. An expert in U.S. relations in East Asia, Friedman can discuss Chinese politics, democratization, human rights, international political economy, revolutions and national identity crises.

Giovanna Merli, associate professor of sociology, is a demographer who has studied evidence of unreported births in China. Her current work focuses on the behavioral and social determinants of HIV/AIDS and collecting data in Shanghai to test models for sexual transmission of HIV/AIDS in China.

Kris Olds, professor of geography, is an academic advisor and collaborator on a major research project on mega-events and forced evictions. The project by the Geneva-based Centre for Housing Rights and Evictions uses the Olympic Games as an example to study the phenomena of forced evictions connected to preparations for a major international event. The report is available online at:

Zhongdang Pan, professor of communications arts, spent five years teaching in Hong Kong and researching media and social changes in China, including a comparative study of journalists in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. He continues to collaborate with scholars in China on a study of media reforms in the country and can discuss media effects on civic culture and public discourse in China, as well as the Chinese media system and journalistic practices.

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