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  • Security keeps public away from Olympic sponsors


    BEIJING (AP) - Sponsors are pressing Chinese organizers to permit more public access to the largely deserted Olympic Green, where tight security has allowed only a small number of visitors to pavilions for General Electric Co., Coca Cola Co. and others.
    Companies have created colorful, costly displays on a plaza beside the Bird's Nest stadium and other key venues. Johnson & Johnson's includes two of China's ancient terra cotta warrior statues, while Samsung Electronics Corp. has rock bands performing on an outdoor stage.

    But access to the area is limited to ticket holders for sporting events. So at most pavilions, the smiling staff outnumber the handful of visitors.

    The restrictions have meant the plaza in the 1,000-acre (400-hectare) Olympic Green has just 2,000 to 3,000 visitors at a time in an area that looks like it could comfortably hold as many as 15,000. Around the Rings, a Web site that follows the Olympics, called the empty plaza a "no man's land."

    At the GE pavilion, an artificial waterfall spurts water in the shape of the Olympic rings and the GE company logo. Inside are displays of solar power and other environmentally friendly technology. But when a reporter was there, the dozen visitors were outnumbered by GE tour guides in blue polo shirts who greeted them in English and Mandarin.

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