Rules to limit behaviour of Olympics spectators

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 July, 2008, 12:00am

Organisers of the Beijing Olympics have banned people from running nude - or streaking - in a series of detailed rules on spectator behaviour released yesterday.

The 22 restrictions and four prohibitions also bar spectators from taking in banners or leaflets supporting commercial, environmental, religious, political, military, and human rights causes, among others.

Banners, such as those saying 'Go China', will be banned from venues, and people will not be allowed to wear clothes with 'identical designs'.

Huang Keying , an official with the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, said the rules were in line with the Olympic Charter, adding: 'Each spectator is subject to the rules aimed at maintaining ... order at the venues.'

Beijing organisers said the rules were virtually the same as those for the Athens and Sydney Games.

Zhang Zhenliang , who oversees the running of Olympic venues, said protesters and streakers inside venues would be punished according to related regulations.

Mr Zhang said, without giving details, that they would be punishable under the security regulations, which allow people to be detained for up to 15 days if they disrupt social order.

Beijing lawyer Song Xuetao said: 'It's not a crime if streakers just show up and run across the field trying to get a reaction without triggering any serious consequences.'

Such behaviour could result in fines of up to 500 yuan (HK$570) and 15 days' detention but not imprisonment. In rare cases, streakers could still be considered as violating the mainland's criminal laws if their actions caused 'severe consequences or social unrest', she said.

Under the criminal law, people who conspire to disrupt social order, including at sports events, or are said to have caused 'severe social unrest' can receive five years in prison.

'Those items [of criminal law] are too loosely defined, and judges could read them any way they wanted.'

If a judge saw interrupting the Games, a source of national pride, as a serious disruption of the social order, criminal law could be applied, she said. 'If my clients asked me for suggestions, I'd say they'd better be smart and not take chances challenging the Beijing authorities.'

Organisers of almost all big international sports events have had to grapple with streakers. Briton Mark Roberts has gained fame by running naked at many events, including the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics, but Beijing's clear stand has obviously made him think twice.

'It's not a risk worth taking,' he said earlier. 'China could do with a smile being put on their faces, but it's a bit more severe than other countries. There may be violence involved. There may be jail time.'

Even so, Beijing officials are taking no chances. In a security drill on Sunday, the seventh anniversary of the announcement that Beijing had won the bid to host the Games, security guards prevented a man trying to run shirtless on to the field at Fengtai Stadium. Guards wrapped the man in a sheet and took him to a room for questioning.

'Order in the stadium was restored right away,' a report said on Bocog's official website.

This latest incident caused a minor stir in chat rooms, with many netizens used to the daily reports of tightened security measures.

'They should have banned the audience from looking at streakers at the time. That makes more sense,' one netizen joked on, a popular website.

Put in line

What spectators cannot bring to the Games:

Large banners

Flags of non-participating regions

Commercial displays

Identical clothes

Behaviour that is banned: