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  • Countdown Beijing -- Olympic Broadcasters Vent at BOCOG


    Broadcasters may be forbidden to beam live footage from Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. (Getty Images)  
    Bureaucracy and Broadcast

    Just weeks before opening ceremonies in Beijing, Olympic TV experts tell Around the Rings they are worried about unresolved issues between Olympic organizers and the rights holding broadcasters.

    ATR is told that reports of discord at a May 30 meeting between the broadcasters and BOCOG are accurate accounts.

    An AP report based on minutes of the meeting says the broadcasters blame bureaucratic procedures for delaying broadcast gear at Chinese ports. Broadcasters are also said to be unhappy over limitations for their coverage in Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.

    The AP quotes IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli: "I think what I have heard here are just a number of conditions or requirements that are just not workable. There are a number of things that are just not feasible."

    "The AP story is quite accurate" says a broadcaster present at the meeting.

    Alex Gilady, IOC Member and NBC vice president, tells Around the Rings that last-minute worries are part of every Olympics for the broadcasters.

    "There is nothing new in the procedure" Gilady said. "The closer you get to the Games the closer you get to the issues."

    "This happens at every Games. Maybe not the same issues but the number of issues is growing because we are getting closer and there are things you can not delay. The issue is not more and more bureaucracy. It is that we are not five years away but a few months," says Gilady.

    Broadcasters are said to have lost patience at the meeting in Beijing over the insistence of BOCOG for a written list of outstanding issues. The broadcasters say they have already provided such a list.

    Olympic Flame in Yunnan

    The Olympic torch reaches the city of Kunming in Yunnan province as it makes a sweep through southern mainland China.

    A chilly early morning drizzle on June 9 failed to impact the spectators or torchbearers, Yunnan media report. Spectators lined the route with now-familiar red flags and
    Chairman Mao and his admirers overlook the Olympic relay in his hometown of Shaoshan in southeast China's Hunan province on June 5. (Getty Images)  
    banners with slogans such as "One World One Dream" and "Kunming joins hands with Wenchuan".

    The event started with a performance of songs and dances which showcased the culture of 25 official minority groups living in Yunnan.

    Long distance runner Zhong Hundi began the relay, followed by 207 other torchbearers, each of whom ran 40 meters. The relay route measured 30.8 km, most covered by bus.

    "I hope that this torch relay will allow the world to get to know Yunnan better and help it to achieve world recognition," Zhong told Yunnan media.

    The day before, relay organizers in the city of Bose delayed the start of the relay by three hours – so that the hubbub would not interrupt students sitting for a nationwide English examination.

    The torch will continue with its journey through the inland province of Yunnan, making its next stop in Lijiang on Tuesday.

    Beijing organizers have yet to announce a new schedule for the torch in mid-June. The torch was originally scheduled to visit Sichuan province starting June 15. That leg will be delayed until the beginning of August.

    New Beijing Bans

    The Beijing government announces a 14-week ban of fireworks as part of the safety measures to guarantee a safe Olympics.

    All sales
    Fireworks stalls will be shut down for four months around the Games. (ATR)  
    of fireworks from wholesale to retail will be strictly banned across Beijing from July 1 to October 8 and the existing stock will be stored in designated warehouses appointed by the Beijing Administration of work Safety.

    Besides the ban on the fireworks, the order also includes the installation of round-the-clock video surveillance systems at gasoline stations that are within 300 meters of all Olympic venues.

    In addition, the safety administration will no longer approve any new projects involving the production of highly toxic chemicals.

    Companies that are selling toxic chemicals will have to follow strict regulations such as recording the name of the purchaser, the name of the chemical and the quantity purchased as well as the purpose of the purchase. Hazardous material storage facilities must now hire 24-hour security.

    The order also requires plants that produce toxic chemicals to report to the safety administration on a weekly basis in July and daily in August.

    The city also now bans the sale of liquid chlorine as a disinfectant and raw material.

    Beijing Briefs…

    The Spanish heir apparent will attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, press agency EFE reports. Felipe de Borbon, his wife, and Spanish foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos will be part of the official delegation. The announcement came over the weekend as Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi made an official visit to Madrid.

    Written by Elsy Belina, Ed Hula III and Maggie Lee

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