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Fears of a ‘no-fun’ Olympics in Beijing

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Mary-Anne Toy
Friday, July 18, 2008
The Age

FEARS of a “no fun Olympics” are growing as security restrictions increase and become more bizarre with less than 20 days to go until the opening ceremony.

Beijing police have been visiting bar owners in the popular Sanlitun area and asking them to sign pledges agreeing to not serve black people or Mongolians and ban activities including dancing.

Bar owners said that police have been clamping down on black people and Mongolians, who are sometimes implicated in drug dealing and prostitution, as part of an Olympic clean-up campaign that they and locals fear will make for a secure but sterile Games.

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Maggies, Beijing’s most notorious expatriate bar, referred to as the “Mongolian embassy” because of its popularity with Mongolian prostitutes and Western men, was shut suddenly about two months ago after a reported murder.

The gay bar Destination has also been ordered to shut down its dance bar until further notice.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

And in a separate move, the Ministry of Public Security announced at the start of the month that from October 1, discos, karaoke bars and other entertainment venues must install transparent partitions in previously private rooms, and ensure staff dress more modestly as part of an effort to crack down on prostitution and drugs.

The Minister of Culture announced on Thursday that all overseas entertainers who have ever attended activities that “threaten national sovereignty” will be banned. This follows an outburst by Icelandic singer Bjork at a Shanghai concert on March 2, which sparked an official investigation.

Bjork shouted out, “Tibet, Tibet,” after performing her song Declare Independence.

A notice on the Ministry’s website on Thursday said that entertainers who “threaten national unity”, “whip up ethnic hatred”, “violate religious policy or cultural norms” or “advocate obscenity or feudalism and superstition” will be banned. “Feudalism and superstition” are often code words used by the Chinese Government to refer to Tibetans loyal to the Dalai Lama. The move follows the detention of several prominent Tibetan singers.

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This article was posted: Friday, July 18, 2008 at 9:47 am





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