The quest for the Olympic flame

Danwei Picks is a daily digest of the “From the Web” links found on the Danwei homepage. A feed for the links as they are posted throughout the day is available at Feedsky (in China) or Feedburner (outside China).

Mount Everest Olympic flame cliffhanger: Xinjiang blogger Opposite End of China investigates China’s hush-hush plans to have two climbers and two TV cameramen carry the Olympic flame to the summit of Everest:

So, it started me thinking… unrest in Tibet, a tiny flame carrying the hopes of all China stored at secret base camp high in the mountains, tight security, and government secrecy. Hrmm. Throw in a glass of holy water from some glacial Tibetan lake, Bruce Willis, and a bad-ass monk or two trying to extinguish the flame and you’ve got an awesome action movie plot.

Qu Bu Liao! Zou! Zou! Zou!: Jim Gourley attempted to see the Torch ceremony yesterday:

To sum up, the morning was full of "Qu bu liao!" and "Zou! Zou! Zou!" which I liberally translate as "You can’t get there from here," and "Keep moving." I finally gave up in my search for Olympic goodwill, shared dreams and unified world. I headed down into the subway. AP reported later that one subway station was closed. They got it wrong. Two stations were closed: Tian’anmen East and West. And that "noticeable boost in security in downtown Beijing" that they reported was a lot more noticeable if you didn’t have an invitation or a press pass.

See also: Nick Mulvenney’s report from the inside: This is normal, it happens in all countries…

Deer penis out of favor: Bloomberg reports:

Deer penis, turtle blood and angelica root potions have joined steroids and amphetamines on the list of banned drugs for Chinese Olympians…

…While China’s top athletes have long sought a competitive edge by ingesting traditional concoctions, those customs are fading amid stricter doping rules…

…Traditional Chinese medicines may contain banned substances such as the stimulant ephedrine or interact with each other to trigger positive doping tests, said Ai Hua, a doctor for China’s gymnastics and weightlifting teams during the 2004 games…

…In the 1990s, Chinese track coach Ma Junren credited a series of world records by unknown runners to high-altitude training and a cocktail of turtle blood and caterpillar fungus. Current head coach Feng Shuyong was skeptical, especially after Ma and six of his athletes were pulled from the 2000 Olympic squad for suspected doping.

China: We have enough rice: From The China Daily:

Rising international rice prices are not a cause for major concern in China, Premier Wen Jiabao said Monday.

‘Please set your mind at rest because China has abundant supply of rice,’ Wen said, adding that the country has stockpiled about 40-50 million tons of rice.

He made the remarks on the sidelines of the Greater Mekong River Subregion Summit.

Liuzhou’s government relocation faces criticism: Liuzhou Laowai blogs about local corruption:

The site is regarded as too expensive and the housing the leaders have built themselves too luxurious. Some houses are valued at over ¥740000 and have an area of 340 m2. This exceeds the figure of 90 – 100 m2 stipulated in the regulations set by national and provincial governments and is generally felt to be verging on corruption and something the city certainly cannot afford.

In a rare development, the national authorities seem to be taking the people’s side. Beijing has been highly critical and a scathing article in the party’s mouthpiece, The People’s Daily, has been picked up and reprinted by regional newspapers all over China (and abroad). The article criticises the local leadership and compares Liuzhou’s government to that of the Soviet Union and points out that it was abuse of privilege such as this which led to the downfall of the communist party there.

See also the update: Liuzhou’s Forbidden City

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