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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Beijing Olympics: Spectators ordered not to stand up, protest or open an umbrella

August 8, 2008

Spectators at the Beijing Olympics are to be left in no doubt about
the high standard of behaviour expected of them by the Games's
Chinese organisers, with giant signs erected detailing the draconian
rules imposed on visitors.
By Peter Foster and Richard Spencer in Beijing
The Telegraph (UK)
August 5, 2008

The 15ft-high yellow signs have been erected at the turnstiles of all
Olympic venues, looming over spectators as they queue to take their
seats and giving an exhaustive nine-point list of "do's and dont's".

Prohibitions range from the usual bans on smoking, gambling and
assaulting athletes and officials, to more peculiar restrictions on
opening umbrellas and standing up in your seat.

On the ever-sensitive subjective of political protests, visitors are
warned in no uncertain terms that protests on any subject from
politics, to the environment and animal rights will not be tolerated.

Actions deemed "inappropriate" include any "demonstrating or
fundraising activities, including but not limited to, commercial,
religious, political, military, territorial, human rights, and animal
and environmental protection activities".

The word "territorial" should not be overlooked: though it no doubt
applies to any of the world's regional disputes, it is aimed squarely
at any Free Tibet protesters who have managed to circumvent the
government's tight visa and security controls.

At the Bird's Nest stadium yesterday, foreign visitors questioned
whether the signs were in the spirit of the Olympic ideals, even if
they did conform with Chapter Five of the Olympic Charter which bans
"any kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial
propaganda ... in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas".

"The signage does feel a little bit aggressive and 'in your face',"
said Frank Lejeune who is working as a technician at the Games. "I
can definitely think of more welcoming signs they could have put up."

Beijing's residents are used to being told in frank terms what they
can and cannot do - lists of rules are commonly displayed in parks
and at residents' associations.

The Beijing Organising Committee defended its rules when they were
announced as "virtually the same" as those employed at the Sydney and
Athens Olympics.

However, at neither Sydney nor Athens were the regulations displayed
with such prominence, in such an intimidating manner, or in so
obviously legalistic language.

Then again, few other Olympic cities have such an overt approach to
propaganda work. Red banners have sprouted all over the city in
recent days exhorting citizens to show their enthusiasm - and their
obedience to the Party line.

"I participate, I contribute and I enjoy," a banner at the entrance
to one of the parks set aside for "protest pens" at the Games reads.
"Welcome Olympic Games with joyfulness and construct a harmonious
society," says the banner at the other entrance.

Wardens yesterday were patrolling the park demanding that passing
journalists not conduct interview with local people.

Among the stranger banners exhibited elsewhere is one that reads: "Go
outside less - give our foreign friends some space."

They are all part of a clean-up of the city which has involved laying
out 40 million flower pots, festooning building sites with billboards
painted with scenes of what the developments will eventually look
like, and removing beggars, dissidents, the mentally ill, and
hundreds of thousands of poor migrant workers from the streets of the city.
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