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Beijing Reminds Foreigners to Behave During Olympics

June 4, 2008

Reuters
June 2, 2008

BEIJING -- The organizers of this summer's Beijing Olympics on Monday
reminded foreigners coming to China for the Games to behave, warning
them that everything from protesting without permission to sleeping
outdoors was banned.

The extensive list, written only in Chinese and put on the
organizers' official website (www.beijing2008.cn), also said that
purchase of Olympics' tickets did not guarantee the holder would
automatically get a Chinese visa.

Entry would be banned to anyone who was intent on "subversion" upon
arriving in China, those with mental illnesses and sexually
transmitted diseases and people who wished to engage in prostitution,
the rules read.

"Foreigners must respect Chinese laws while in China and must not
harm China's national security or damage social order," the rules say.

The stability-obsessed government, determined to ensure the Olympics
go off without a hitch, has in the last several months tightened
controls on visas, residence permits for foreigners, and places of
entertainment.

The handbook warns the estimated 500,000 overseas visitors who are
expected to come to Beijing this August that China is still a country
with many off-limits areas and beholden to bureaucracy and public
security organs.

"Not all of China is currently open to foreigners, and if foreigners
do not have permission they should not go into areas not opened it," it reads.

"Foreigners must carry with them relevant documents. The police, in
the course of doing their job, have the right to check foreigners'
passports and other documents," the handbook says, adding foreigners
must register with the police upon arrival.

The government has denied keeping a blacklist of what it considers
potentially troublemaking journalists, but is desperate to avoid
activists from human rights or pro-Tibet groups from staging protests
at the Games, hence tougher visa controls.

"Foreign spectators will not necessarily automatically get visas just
because they have bought Olympic tickets, and still need to apply for
visas in accordance with the rules at Chinese embassies," the list says.

The handbook also outlines six activities which are illegal at
cultural or sporting events, which include waving "insulting
banners", attacking referees or players and smoking or lighting
fireworks in venues.

And you can forget about sleeping outdoors to save a bit of money.

It's banned, in order to "maintain public hygiene and the cultured
image of cities".

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie)
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