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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Beijing Olympics: Protests Banned but Pets Okay in China

June 4, 2008

Richard Spencer in Beijing
The Telegraph (UK)
June 6, 2008

China is warning visitors to the Olympics they could be fined or
jailed without trial if they breach rules on a range of offences
including staging political protests.

A list of rules for tourists coming for the Beijing Games in the
summer published outlines a long list of reasons why they may not be
allowed into the country at all.

Those banned will include anyone suffering from infectious diseases
such as tuberculosis or sexually transmitted diseases such as Aids,
the mentally ill, prostitutes, and anyone with "subversive" intent.

Books, articles and computer files with content "harmful to China's
politics, cultures, morals and economy" would also be banned, the rules say.

But it adds that those who break the law while in China could face
standard penalties. "Any illegal gatherings, parades and protests and
refusal to comply are subject to administrative punishments or
criminal prosecution," it says.

Administrative punishments are those that can be imposed by the
police without referral to the courts, and as well as fines include
detention in a "reducation through labour" facility for up to four years.

The authorities in Beijing have begun a tightening of controls on
foreigners in the run-up to the Games, imposing new visa restrictions
and regular checks on residence permits, and cancelling some concerts
and festivals featuring foreign acts.

The senior leader responsible for state security said at the weekend
that security was the top concern for the Games, and warned of an
increased terrorist risk.

Many of the rules listed on the organising committee's website are
unsurprising, such as the ban on bringing guns, drugs and endangered
species into the country. Most are just a restatement of existing
laws, including those on protest.

Among specifically banned offences at venues are attacking referees
or players, lighting fireworks, holding up "insulting banners" - and smoking.

In recent years, most foreigners deemed guilty of political offences,
such as holding up "free Tibet" banners, have been deported. But it
is not unknown for foreigners accused of public order offences to
serve time in jail without trial. At any time, a number of people who
are unable to pay exit fines for overstaying visas are also similarly detained.

The list also warns that sleeping rough is illegal in China, and
states that buying a ticket does not automatically qualify applicants
for an entrance visa.

On a more liberal note, however, the rules state that visitors are
allowed to bring one pet each with them, should they choose to do so.

One Olympic official said: "A lot of this is not that different from
what the Greeks did four years ago - the difference is the context of
what happens here.

"In the context of Chinese law if people want to have a spontaneous
demonstration and they don't get prior approval this is China and the
rules are pretty strict."
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