Scalpers tolerated, petitioners unwanted

BEIJING—This is my last day in Beijing. Yesterday I forgot to mention an important point about pirated goods. I didn't find any “official, licensed” Olympics items or authorized Olympics Adidas sports products among the pirated products in the Silk Market.
Sun Ling
This tells us that if the Chinese authorities have the will to do something, they can do it. This is a good sign. I hope it lasts.

This morning, I go to the Bird’s Nest Stadium for the athletics competition. Lots of scalpers are selling tickets at inflated prices to passersby. A ticket for the athletics competition originally priced at 200 yuan is going for 1,000 yuan.

Tickets for the Sunday volleyball game are going for 1,200 yuan. The scalpers ignore the many police positioned at the entrance to the sports venues, and, strangely, the police seem to tolerate them. When two scalpers get into a fight with a customer, the police just separate them and let them go.

Their attitude is very different when it comes to petitioners or even journalists covering the Olympics. Yesterday, a British journalist was forced to the ground, dragged, and manhandled by the Chinese police just because he tried to cover a protest by a pro-Tibetan group in a park in Beijing.

Isn’t it true that selling inflated tickets to the Games is illegal in China, while it is legal to report on a protest? I’m confused.

Passengers elbow-to-elbow

Taking a subway to the Olympic Games venues is a nightmare. The passengers at the transfer point at Beitucheng Station are all jammed in together, and while you can just walk elbow-to-elbow in the station and get onto the escalator, you can easily fall when you get to the top.

There are no staff to prevent sudden stops. And keep in mind that there are many old people and children in the crowd. However, there are a few security staff on hand to watch the crowd. It is lucky that there have been no serious accidents in the subway so far.

Here, I should pay a compliment to those who handle crowd control at the Games themselves. There are plenty of signs and people on hand to give directions to visitors, and the volunteers are polite and helpful. Though we need to wait for an hour to go through a security check, we would expect the same thing in any big Western city.

Hu Jintao, the Chinese president, goes to watch the women’s volleyball game between China and the United States. The game is tense and worth watching. China loses.

‘Ethnic traitor’?

I hear many comments from Chinese that they hate Long Ping, the coach of the U.S. team, because she used to be a Chinese team member and now helps the U.S. players against her own country’s team. Some even call her a kind of “ethnic traitor.”

This is too harsh. We shouldn’t forget that China also hires many foreign coaches to guide Chinese sports teams in competitions against their own countries.

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