Abstract. To assess the primary and secondary sources of fine organic aerosols after the aggressive implementation of air pollution controls during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, 12 h PM2.5 values were measured at an urban site at Peking University (PKU) and an upwind rural site at Yufa during the CAREBEIJING-2008 (Campaigns of Air quality REsearch in BEIJING and surrounding region) summer field campaign. The average PM2.5 concentrations were 72.5 43.6 g m3 and 64.3 36.2 g m3 (average standard deviation, below as the same) at PKU and Yufa, respectively, showing the lowest concentrations in recent years. Combining the results from a CMB (chemical mass balance) model and secondary organic aerosol (SOA) tracer-yield model, five primary and four secondary fine organic aerosol sources were compared with the results from previous studies in Beijing. The relative contribution of mobile sources to PM2.5 concentrations was increased in 2008, with diesel engines contributing 16.2 5.9% and 14.5 4.1% and gasoline vehicles contributing 10.3 8.7% and 7.9 6.2% to organic carbon (OC) at PKU and Yufa, respectively. Due to the implementation of emission controls, the absolute OC concentrations from primary sources were reduced during the Olympics, and the contributions from secondary formation of OC represented a larger relative source of fine organic aerosols. Compared with the non-controlled period prior to the Olympics, primary vehicle contributions were reduced by 30% at the urban site and 24% at the rural site. The reductions in coal combustion contributions were 57% at PKU and 7% at Yufa. Our results demonstrate that the emission control measures implemented in 2008 significantly alleviated the primary organic particle pollution in and around Beijing. However, additional studies are needed to provide a more comprehensive assessment of the emission control effectiveness on SOA formation.