A British adventurer walking across China to promote the message of a green Olympics has been forced to halt his expedition because of bureaucratic red tape. Paul Coleman set out from Hong Kong on September 22 last year with the aim of walking to Beijing to raise awareness of environmental issues on the mainland. He returned to the city last Friday to pick up an award for his environmental work elsewhere around the world, but found that his application for a visa had been refused due to new pre-Games restrictions on foreigners. The restrictions were introduced in April and are part of measures aimed at securing the Olympics, which open on August 8, against security threats or protests. But far from being a perambulating do-gooder activist bent on embarrassing Games organisers, Coleman is, in fact, on official business. His trip, he says, is part of a programme to make Beijing's Games the greenest ever. As he travels around, Coleman is planting trees and generally spreading the green message. 'It's really about encouraging people to take action on their own behalf,' he said. Early last month he conducted a tree-planting at a memorial for the thousands of people killed during the Japanese rampage through Nanjing. 'We've had support from national and local government, and from state-owned media,' he said. His website, earthwalker.com, carries articles from several state-run newspapers about his journey. 'We've had loads of great support, but at the moment we are lost in a bureaucratic shuffle,' he said. 'It's because we don't fit with this new [visa] application process that requires that we provide proof that we are staying in a hotel,' Coleman said. 'But that is quite impractical for us because we are walking and we don't really know how far we are going to get on any given day.' He said that while he was trying to travel about 20km a day, it was difficult to maintain that pace in the sweltering heat of the Yangtze river flood plain. Depending on where he and his team found themselves at the end of a day, he either sleeps in a hotel, or a local government office, school or other building, or camps out. 'Camping is really not a pleasant prospect because out on the flood plain there are a lot of insects,' he said. He had enlisted the support of several people to help navigate the mainland bureaucracy since arriving in Hong Kong. 'Really, we are hoping we can be under way by next Tuesday,' Coleman said. 'We've got 800km left and we don't have a lot of time if we are going to make it to Beijing in time for the Olympics.'