China Gets Cold Feet For Even A Fig Leaf Of Freedom
"BEIJING — China late last month announced that individuals or groups wanting to demonstrate during the Olympics could go to "protest pens" in three public parks around Beijing.
What China didn't announce was the Catch-22: Protests are allowed but permits aren't available. Getting one would be as likely as beating gold medalist Michael Phelps in a swimming race or outrunning record-holder Tyson Gay in a short sprint.
A tour of the three parks Monday revealed no sign of "protest pens" and no indication that any protests had occurred or would be allowed to occur. Human rights monitors now say the announcement that such pens would be set up was aimed at defusing foreign criticism of China rather than providing citizens with an outlet to voice discontent during the games."