I wonder if parts of San Francisco will likewise find itself under Chinese law, at least when those strange Men in Blue are there…
Questions raised over mysterious ‘men in blue’ – Home News, UK – The Independent
Shortly after Konnie Huq finished her brief leg of London’s farcical Olympic torch relay on Sunday, she called a friend on her mobile phone. “Did you see those blokes in the blue tracksuits?” the former Blue Peter presenter whispered down the line. “They were bloody aggressive, weren’t they?”
Huq had just been involved in a tussle with a protester, so it was surprising that what appeared to concern her most was the praetorian guard of Chinese officials who formed a wall around her during the short dash, rather than the demonstrator intent on wrestling the Olympic torch from her grasp.
But for any of the athletes, protesters, journalists and even police who found themselves guided, barged or fighting with this particularly committed group of Chinese minders, the identity and function of the “boys in blue tracksuits” was of paramount importance.
Little is known about the mysterious guards accompanying the flame on its “harmonious journey”, apart from the fact that they are well-trained security officers under the remit of the Beijing Games co-ordinators, who have sweeping political powers in China.
Officially the minders are “flame attendants” employed by the Beijing Olympic Organising Committee (Bocog), which has organised the global relay. Their role, in theory, is to be constantly on hand to ensure the flame never goes out. At night and during airline flights, when the torch is kept in specially-made closed lanterns, three attendants guard it at all times. Should the flame be extinguished during a relay, they are responsible for relighting it.
So far, so good. But, although Commander Bob Broadhurst, the Metropolitan Police officer in charge of the route, insisted that flame attendants had no executive powers in Britain, their behaviour on Sunday indicated otherwise â€“ or at least hinted that they were being allowed to overstep the mark.
Given the history of cooperation between the FBI and the Chinese government when it comes to counter-terrorism, it is likely that the Blue Men are in western countries legally, and that Western governments are turning a blind eye to their abuses, much as few people care when a paparazzi is manhandled by a star’s bodyguard.
But advocates for a more harmonious China are not paparazzi. If the Men in Blue are really going to follow the Olympic torch everywhere it goes, no wonder they are thinking of shortening its world tour. It would be the objective of every protester to be blooded by these Blue Men.
And that’s a risk of embarrassment the Communist Party would be brave to take.