4) The imposed order and absence of protests is creepy, to say the least.
Before the Olympics, I had thought that the most likely way the whole event could go wrong would be this: Someone, somehow, was sure to mount a protest about Tibet, human rights, or any other issue. When that happened, the authorities, bast on past performance, were sure to over-react.
As it turns out, they've over-reacted in advance by buttoning everything up so tight that no dissent of any sort shows. Three big venues have been set aside for "authorized" protests, but these last few days it's been clear that no authorizations will be granted. (And that smart Chinese groups realize they shouldn't try.) I see that Nicholas Kristof has today published a column on this very topic, so I needn't explain any more.
Related: papers in Australia and the UK have been publicizing what they say is a leaked memo from the Chinese propaganda ministry, with 21 do's and dont's for the Chinese media in covering the Olympics and possible protests. One version of the text, from the Sydney Morning Herald, is here (background here) and includes this item:
9. In regard to the three protest parks, no interviews and coverage is allowed.
I can't be sure whether this leaked memo is legitimate. Most China veterans I've asked say that it probably is, since it sounds like other, similar guidelines (including one I quoted in this article about the Great FIrewall) and in fact is not news at all, since it reflects no more than established policy.
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