With news of the protests minimalized in China and the message being one of criticizing the protesters for their actions, many wondered what China would do about actual people – particularly the foreigners – showing up in Beijing to protest various Chinese political policies and the Olympics themselves.
That question has been answered by the Chinese government, which claims that it will allow Olympic protests in three designated city parks.
According to the BBC:
Liu Shaowu, director of the Beijing organising committee’s security department, said protests would be allowed in Shijie, Zizhuyuan and Ritan parks.
Organisers say that fans won’t be able to take in any banners or leaflets which contain political, religious, racial, commercial, military, or other messagesThe BBC’s James Reynolds
“They are all close to the city proper and the Olympic venues,” he told a press conference on the city’s security preparations.
But Mr Wu was hazy about how potential protesters would apply for permission, and on whether spontaneous demonstrations would be allowed.
“As for the concrete application, and who handles those applications, I have no clear information at this time,” he said.
What’s interesting about China’s protesting rules: they forgot the power of the almighty t-shirt. As noted above in the BBC article, China is prohibiting attendees from carrying politically-charged banners or leaflets – and we’ll assume that a sticker can be construed as a leaflet. However, there is no mention of whether wearing it loud will be grounds for expulsion or any other undesired Olympic experience for the wearer.
Now, that’s not to say that we’re advocating that anyone experiment with wearing a “FREE TIBET!” t-shirt to the opening ceremonies. However, if you do so please let us know what happened…
One travel tip we will give you: don’t forget your inhaler.