"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Saturday, March 22, 2008

US Department of State advises Beijing Olympics visitors

The XXIXth Olympics will boast and host 10,500 athletes, 180,000 accredited staff, 22,000 media, and 230 VIPs. There are seven major venue sites, six outside of Beijing.

The staff of the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Bureau of Consular Affairs have issued a Facts sheet for US visitors to the XXIXth Olympic Summer Games and the Beijing Paralympic Summer Games taking place on August 8-24, 2008, and September 6-17, 2008 - that is when they are not busy looking up the Passport files of Presidential candidates....

This has handy links ;
The Beijing Organizing Committee for the 29th Olympiad Games (BOCOG) website , the Beijing Paralympic Summer Games website for the U.S. Embassy’s Beijing Olympics website and the CDC travelers’ health website . U.S. citizens (or anyone else) planning travel to China should regularly check http://www.travel.state.gov/ for updated travel warnings, alerts or cautions.

Recent violence in Tibet and a purported (and much underreported ) attempt to create an explosion on a passenger plane in flight from western China’s Xinjiang Province to Beijing are good examples of how potentially dangerous events can occur in the run-up to the Olympics.

Privacy & Safety: All visitors should be aware that they have no reasonable expectation of privacy in public or private locations. All hotel rooms and offices are considered to be subject to on-site or remote technical monitoring at all times (ie bugged) . Hotel rooms, residences and offices may be accessed at any time without the occupant’s consent or knowledge. Many hotels and apartment buildings may be of substandard construction, lack emergency exits, fire suppression systems, carbon monoxide monitors and standard security equipment (locks, alarms, and personnel). Americans traveling abroad should be reminded to review fire evacuation procedures for hotels, apartments or offices.

It is little known ,but all major US company staff travelling to China use a special company supplied cellphone, with a blank memory which must be returned and is then shipped to some Federal security department to identify any software loaded during their stay. Staff are provided with clear instructions to minimise phone / e mail contact with the US and not discuss / transmit any confidential commercial information using electronic systems.

Ticket Scams: Those interested in purchasing tickets to the Olympics Games should make sure that they order their tickets from the official Beijing Olympics website or in the United States through CoSport, the designated sales agent.

The Embassy Olympic website is http://beijing.usembassy-china.org.cn/2008olympics.html

The traveller is advised to note the Current Worldwide Caution dated January 17th 2008 ....

"On December 11, 2007, two vehicle-borne explosive devices were detonated at the UN headquarters in Algiers and the Algerian Constitutional Council. Three other suicide bomb attacks in July and September of 2007 in Algeria killed more than 80 people. In July 2007, suspected al-Qaida operatives carried out a vehicle-borne explosive device attack on tourists at the Bilquis Temple in Yemen, which resulted in the deaths of eight Spanish tourists and their two Yemeni drivers. There was a series of bombings in Morocco in March and April 2007, two of which occurred simultaneously outside the U.S. Consulate General and the private American Language Center in Casablanca. Additionally, an attack took place on the American International School in Gaza in April 2007. These events underscore the intent of terrorist entities to target facilities perceived to cater to Westerners. The September 2006 attack on the U.S. embassy in Syria and the March 2006 bombing near the U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan illustrate the continuing desire of extremists to strike American targets. "

For information on what you can do in a crisis and how the U.S. Government can assist you, please see the Department of State webpage on Crisis Awareness.

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