Monday, 11 August 2008

Beijing 2008

The event that is probably dominating the media at the moment is the Olympics in Beijing. Like millions of other people around the globe, I watched the opening ceremony last Friday. The opening drums and the ceremony as a whole was incredibly impressive. But then, as journalist Ann Lesley pointed out at the weekend, so was the 1936 Olympics. GayNZ reported last week that the Olympics had actually brought masses of new restrictions for gay men and lesbians in China and drew on a Gay Times piece from last year. Inspired by the site I took a look at some sites that provide cruising and sauna listings. There does indeed seem to be a new restrictive tone with venues closed or changed. One comment would have been funny if it wasn't so sinister. A guy went to a sauna he'd been to many times before, hidden down an ally. He went in, the staff were the same staff and smiled in their usual way. Only now the venue had become a karaoke venue and people played cards. The sex beds had vanished and the showers removed.

Watch that video again - impressive outward looking event or terrifying image of a totalitarian state, 2008 drummers working as one? You decide.

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