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Ahead Of Games, Beijing Switches To English

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Ahead Of Games, Beijing Switches To English

World

Ahead Of Games, Beijing Switches To English

Ahead Of Games, Beijing Switches To English

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Police officer Liu Wenli enjoys practicing his language skills with foreign tourists as he patrols Coal Hill Park. Li Mu for NPR hide caption

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Li Mu for NPR

Police officer Liu Wenli enjoys practicing his language skills with foreign tourists as he patrols Coal Hill Park.

Li Mu for NPR

Beijing has put much effort into brushing up on its English in order to host the Olympics.

Taxi drivers, police officers and volunteers have struggled through English classes, and city officials have cleared the streets of most garbled or unintelligible English-language signs.

The city also boasts a few linguistic stars, such as police officer Liu Wenli, who over the past two decades has taught himself English and other languages.

On his beat in Beijing's Coal Hill Park, he says he taught himself English and 12 other foreign languages over the past two decades.

His skills include an ability to say "put your gun down" in a New York accent.