Olympic Security Tightening Further

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Interesting AP report about a clash between Chinese officials concerned about security and foreign television executives trying to get their logistical ducks in a row for the Games. There’s a matching piece at the Guardian that also comments on the effects on the International Olympic Committee and the Games of what seems to be a growing security mania. We have written before about the extreme measures Beijing is putting into place ahead of the Olympics to keep security tight. This reflects not only there desire to run a perfect show but also a decades-old habit of severe crackdowns before big occasions such as party congresses and the like. This tendency is further exacerbated by very genuine fears of possible terrorist attacks (see various stories about earlier attempts to carry out attacks–China says–by Muslim Uighur separatists from Xinjiang province) or disruptions by human rights and other activists. All large events like this have a high degree of tension between security officials and organizers seeking to maximize publicity and public participation. But things seem to have got to the point where they are genuinely threatening the smooth TV coverage of the Games. Coupled with the very strict visa restrictions that look certain now to keep out many legitimate tourists, it could turn out, quite contrary to all the build up, to be relatively sparsely attended and watched by foreigners.

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