BOCOG Says Sorry

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Seeing that this generated a fair bit of commentary–and argument–I think it’s worth noting that the Beijing Olympic Committee apologized for the behavior of the police during the scuffles at the Olympic ticket sales last week. Here’s the story from the South China Morning Post (which is not entirely disinterested in this matter of course but this is a straightforward news report). Some SCMP stuff is behind a firewall so I’ll reprint the first few grafs:

Olympics organisers on Saturday admitted Beijing police had acted inappropriately during a scuffle with Hong Kong reporters on Friday and said officials would learn from the experience.

“We deeply regret what happened,” said Zhao Dongming, director of the Cultural Activities Department of the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games.

“Perhaps there was some mishandling at the site of the incident. I think after this experience everyone will find a way to do a better job.”

Mr Zhao added that police would work on improving internal education and prevent the recurrence of such mayhem.

Several Hong Kong journalists were pushed, dragged and forcibly removed from reporting on the chaos that developed at Olympics ticket offices in Beijing on Friday.

South China Morning Post photographer Felix Wong was detained after accidentally kicking a police officer in the groin while defending himself during a scuffle.

Couple of interesting things. First the photographer ‘accidentally’ kicked the officer. Hence his apology, which I thought was a gracious move on his part. Second, the fact that Bocog apologized at all is pretty amazing.The last time I heard an apology was from premier Wen Jiabao during the earthquake and before snow storms, but apart from him (happy to be corrected here) it’s hard to remember such a direct apology from a Chinese official. Grim silence or trotting out the “hurting the feelings of the Chinese people” line are more usual.