A couple of days ago I took a walk around the Shanghai Stadium and environs with the intention of getting a look at the security presence in light of recent news that the Shanghai police had broken up a terror ring that was planning an attack on the venue during the Games. I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised to find the atmosphere surrounding the facility to be relatively low-key, ie, no camouflaged soldiers with machine guns, or anti-aircraft batteries (like those surrounding the Bird’s Nest in Beijing). But then, as I was passing by the Huating Hotel, the official hotel for the events to be held at the Shanghai Stadium, I noticed that the relatively thin fencing used to surround it, is electrified.
[Sign reads: Electrified Fencing, Climbing Prohibited"]
For those who don’t know the area, the Huating Hotel and the Shanghai Stadium are located in one of the busiest sections of Shanghai. Densely populated, densely traveled (comparable to surrounding New York City’s Plaza Hotel with electrified fencing, say).
Now, I can’t say that I have any idea as to how much current is running through this fencing (I’ll leave the touch test to the reporters from Outside). And I can’t say that I was even planning to post this photo before yesterday, and the announcement that members of the International Olympic Committee had personally negotiated (that is, accepted) blocks on the internet access provided to foreign journalists at the official Media Centre in Beijing. A happy coincidence, then, that it so perfectly captures the Spirit of the IOC’s complicity in censorship.
[UPDATE: China Law Blog has a brief, excellent commentary on the IOC's dirty deal. Recommended.]