From the Fear and Loathing in Beijing Department of SPORTSbyBROOKS:
Beijing Olympic officials issued another set of edicts yesterday, just in time for us to finish our “Beijing manuals and edicts wallpaper” project in the bathroom. We made sure to put the extraordinarily lengthy list of mannerly matters for foreigners facing the toilet. First, it’s only in Chinese, so we’ll need time to practice our translation skills. (Useful for foreigners, no?)
(Hooray! The new rules and regulations on headwear have arrived!)
More importantly, though, it’s good readin’ and we had the taco pizza last night. So let’s all lean back, relax, and push out a steady stream of Chinese rules and regulations, shall we?
For example, did you know you shouldn’t smuggle opium into the country? Also, according to REUTERS:
“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.”
It’s like they’re targeting sportswriters specifically! That’s patently unfair. (We’re kidding! We kid.)
Foreigners staying with locals have to register with the police within 24-72 hours. Stay out of restricted areas (like, say, Tibet). No sleeping in the park; they have to “maintain public hygiene and the cultured image of the cities.” (Really? The city known for its bare chests?)
Of course, the most pressing concern for journalists in Beijing this summer has little to do with prostitution. Also, it’s not the answer to this question: “After eating or drinking at restaurants or hotels, if you have diarrhea or vomiting symptoms, how do you lodge a complaint?” (From our bathroom, of course; all the necessary phone numbers are papered near the sink.)
It’s the restrictions of press freedoms and the potential for unrest that the government may foment by restricting speech of all forms and travel. The REUTERS piece calls China “the stability-obsessed government”. We don’t mean to pick on REUTERS, but name one government that isn’t.
We hope much of the media can get their knickers quite untwisted in time for the Games so they won’t be frazzled from all the fear and paranoia. After all, they won’t be allowed to bring any opium into the country to relax with.