The Networks Have Had It With These Chinese

The TV networks responsible for airing the Olympics worldwide in less than two months have not enjoyed dealing with the Chinese government and their scrupulous ways.

Chairman Mao China

Who would have thought that holding an event filled with goodwill would endure such scrutiny in a communist country?

From the AP:

Differences over a wide range of issues — from limits on live coverage in Tiananmen Square to allegations that freight shipments of TV broadcasting equipment are being held up in Chinese ports — surfaced in a contentious meeting late last month between Beijing organizers and high-ranking International Olympic Committee officials and TV executives — including those from NBC.

“I think what I have heard here are just a number of conditions or requirements that are just not workable,” said IOC official Gilbert Felli, according to minutes of the May 29 meeting obtained by The Associated Press. “There are a number of things that are just not feasible.”

And, of course, the Chinese have been less than accommodating, trying to control every minute detail, while minimizing any opportunity for protests to break out. This exchange from what one insider during an “emergency meeting” for broadcasters and Beijing officials shows what the networks are up against:

In response to the complaints from broadcasters, Sun Weijia, head of media operations for the Beijing organizers, asked them to put it in writing, only to draw protests about mounting paperwork.

Despite the outburst, Sun asked again to have the complaints in writing.

“I just wish to have a kind of document to help me identify the key points,” he said, drawing immediate protest.

“How many times do we have to do that?” asked Manolo Romero, an Olympic broadcasting official.

No word on whether or not TV networks actually had covers on their TPS reports. The Chinese are planning to have half a million in security personnel, setting the ratio of security to visitors at nearly 1:1.

Are we sure they’re not going to just take the whole world hostage? No, we really aren’t. But these beats the alternative: excluding them from the world community while they proceed about their business without any sort of checks. China has been embracing communism, but it’s been a slow process. Hopefully these Games will help bring that country closer to the capitalist world that many of us take for granted.