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Tourists walk through Beijing's Tiananmen Gate as a Beijing Olympics logo is seen in the distance, July 27. (Greg Baker/Associated Press)

China sees this summer's Beijing Olympics as its coming-out party, a chance to showcase itself to the world as a modern nation riding a wave of unprecedented economic growth.

The country has gone to great lengths in attempting to ensure a spectacular, trouble-free Games. Security has been tightened and billions spent to beautify the Olympic host city.

But the story has been much larger than that.

Political turmoil in Tibet, air quality concerns in Beijing, droughts in the north, mass migration to the cities and a building boom all ensure that China has never been far from the media spotlight throughout 2008.

The map below outlines some of the regions and issues that have made news in recent months.

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