The Strange Men in Blue

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 – 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.

Strange Blue Men

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.

5 thoughts on “The Strange Men in Blue”

  1. How do you read the picture above? the blue body guard try to take the shaking torch from the yellow jacket man who tries to rob the torch? this is not in theory.

  2. Fei,

    Thanks for the comment!

    The man in the Yellow Jacket appears to be London Metropolitan Police. The man in the blue jacket is Chinese protection — possibly People’s Armed Police [1]. The photo shows one of the times that Konnie Huq, who is a children’s TV host in Britain, said the Blue Men behaved aggressively toward her.


  3. It is obviously a protester, see the sentence in the linked picture below, ‘Struggle: A protester tries to grab the torch from former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq’
    I think whoever in such chaos for the intention to protect the torch will possibly behave aggressively surrounding those rioters. That is not politics-like issue anymore.


  4. Ah, yeah, the man with an orange jacket is a protester — he is being removed by a Blue Man. After this, the Blue Man is removed by a Metropolitan police.

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