These days security is always an important aspect of major events and the Olympics are no exception. But for the authoritarian Chinese government, security at the 2008 Beijing Olympics must be taken to a whole new level.
This is because the harsh Chinese government tries, with unfortunate success, to control the thoughts and opinions of their public. Like Orwell’s thought police the Chinese government control media and even the internet in attempts to control their public. There is no such thing, indeed nothing like, freedom of speech in China. It is a restrictive and often inhumane regime.
So how are they going to handle a massive influx of people, athletes and especially press that are used to being free to air their opinions? Nobody is really sure, but the Chinese are already having significant problems. The Olympic torch is being constantly disrupted by those who want to speak up against China’s dodgy policies – especially in Tibet.
Recently Bjork shocked officials by called out “Tibet, Tibet” during a performance in Shanghai. Their reaction? All foreign performers are now checked out first, playlists are carefully vetted and all impromptu features like encores are banned. Even child performers are scrutinized.
If that seems crazy consider the fact that dress code for spectators at the Olympics will also be vigorously enforced. Officials worry that innocently dressed spectators could raise a shirt to display slogans offensive to the regime. Security will probably be checking everything people wear. The response from protesters has been to say that fans should wear orange to show support for Tibet. Imagine the anguish of Dutch fans if the Chinese were to ban orange clothing at all Olympic events.
This may seem ridiculous to us, but imagine living there…