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Banners banned in Olympic venues
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Banners, such as those saying "Go China," will not be allowed in Olympic venues. While such posters have been frequently seen during the Olympic torch global relay, the tendentious banners violate the fairness principle of an Olympic event, according to Olympic venue rules.

The rules, promulgated on Monday, 25 days ahead of the Games, by the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG), advise spectators not to bring into the venues support banners and leaflets of commercial publicity, religion, politics, military, human rights and environmental and animal protection, among others.

Huang Keying, a BOCOG spectator division official, said the rules, including 22 restrictions and four prohibitions, were completely in line with the Olympic Charter. "Each spectator is subject to the rules aimed at maintaining security and order of the venue."

Li Yong, a BOCOG volunteer department staff, told Xinhua people with banners would be stopped at the entrance security check. Spectators should cheer for both Chinese and foreign athletes, Li said.

Earlier last month, 800,000 Chinese volunteers began practicing routines to cheer on athletes -- both Chinese and foreign -- at the Games.

They were trained to do a four-step cheer in unified sportswear, with easy-to-learn slogans. They are required to stand up when national anthems are played and to remove trash at the end of an event.

The f-words used by Beijing natives, a unique local style of verbal abuse, were definitely banned among spectators.

The rules also ban banners and flags larger than two meters by one metre, flags of non-participating members, photo-shooting with a flash, drunkenness, nudity and gambling, sit-ins, demonstrations, as well as soft drink containers, musical instruments, including whistles, long umbrellas, cigarette lighters, cameras and radios at venues.

Lip gloss, fountain pens and sunscreen in small quantity are allowed.

Animals, except guide dogs, were also not allowed in the venues.

The organizer reminded spectators to dress normally and not deliberately display commercial logos on clothes or be part of a group of people wearing identical patterned clothes.

Zhang Zhenliang, director of the Games' inquiry center, said spectator rules were always one of the most difficult parts of the Games preparation as they must ensure an orderly, happy and harmonious environment.

The rules book have been delivered to spectators along with tickets. Overseas spectators could see the rules on-line or dial "12308."

Zhang said the inquiry center operated daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. in several languages. "Many overseas spectators inquired about whether they could bring babies into the opening or closing ceremony venue." It was not advised.

Li Bingshuang, a Beijing office worker, had tickets for the beach volleyball and rhythmic gymnastics events. She carefully read the rules book attached to the tickets.

"I know little about specific rules of each Games, but I'm sure I should clap after athletes completed their routines, but not in the middle of it," she said.

Zhang said the restrictions and prohibitions were roughly the same as those of the Athens and Sydney Games. The "spectator version" of the rules book features a simple and vivid language.

Huang said the Beijing Olympic venue rules were different than those of previous Games as the national situation and local habits were different, adding Athens had banned large quantity of coins being taken into venues. Beijing, however, did not have such a restriction.

"Beijing locals like to use a parasol to block out the sunshine. But we have to remind people not to open umbrellas in the seating areas so as not to block others' view," she said, adding collapsible umbrellas were acceptable for being taken into venues.

"We have specially trained staff to communicate with spectators and point out their misconduct."

Li said whistles and cigarette lighters were most likely to be ignored by spectators and common at venues. "They seem natural for a game, but whistles could disturb athletes and lighters are classified as dangerous goods."

On Monday, BOCOG also launched a "Good Habit for a Good Games" campaign by distributing "Smiling Wristbands" in five Olympic colors to the public to promote "civilized watching, smile commitment."

Meanwhile, an large-scale etiquette campaign was launched outside the Olympic venues. More than 4.3 million local families were given "etiquette manuals" and 870,000 taxi drivers, government workers, restaurant waiters and bus conductors attended such courses.

(Xinhua News Agency July 15, 2008)

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