HONG KONG Do not bring any printed materials critical of China. Do not plan on holding any rallies or demonstrations in China. Do not think that you are guaranteed an entry visa because you hold tickets to an Olympic event. And do not even think about smuggling opium into China.
That is some of the eclectic advice issued by the Beijing Organizing Committee on Monday, in a document listing 57 questions that foreign visitors to the Olympic Games in August may have: "Does China have any regulation against insults to the flag or national emblems?" "After eating or drinking at restaurants or hotels, if you have diarrhea or vomiting symptoms, how do you lodge a complaint?"
The advisory to foreigners, posted on the committee's Web site, but only in Chinese, provides answers for each question in a deadpan style. (Burning or soiling the Chinese flag or emblems is a criminal offense; food-poisoning symptoms are to be reported to the local health department.) Some of the rules, like a ban on religious or political banners or slogans at Olympic sites, appear aimed at preventing protests of China's crackdown in Tibet this year and other Chinese policies.
The Beijing Organizing Committee took pains at the start of the document to say that all the answers were based on existing Chinese regulations. The International Olympic Committee had no immediate response on Monday to the rules. Its position on freedom of expression issues as they relate to the Olympics is not entirely clear.
"A person's ability to express his or her opinion is a basic human right and as such does not need to have a specific clause in the Olympic Charter because its place is implicit," said Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, at a meeting in Beijing in April.
But Rogge also pointed out at the time that the International Olympic Committee had a rule for more than half a century that "no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or areas." The advisory issued by the Beijing Organizing Committee includes a ban on bringing into China "anything detrimental to China's politics, economy, culture or moral standards, including printed material, film negatives, photos, records, movies, tape recordings, videotapes, optical discs and other items."
All rallies, demonstrations and marches, at athletic sites or anywhere else, are also banned during the games unless approved in advance by public security agencies, a long-standing policy in China.