I got back from Shanghai late last night and took a cab home from the airport. When we got to our exit off of the fifth ring road, there was a policeman there blocking it. I told him that I lived in the area, and wanted to go home. He told me that next time I should be sure to take a car with a permit.

He told us that starting on July 27th (tomorrow), only permitted cars will be allowed into the Olympic area that includes our apartment. Some taxis have permits, but not many. I asked him how I was supposed to get home, and he told me to take the bus. Unfortunately, there is only one bus outside of our apartment complex, and the direction it heads in is the opposite direction from places I’m usually headed. My other option is to walk for 20-30 minutes until I get out of the Olympic area.

Last night he let me through, but the taxi had to stop about a ten minute walk from our apartment. As I rolled my bag towards our complex, I noticed a large crowd by the side of the road. Once I got closer, I could tell that it was people lined up to buy tickets. There were 100 or so people in line. It was 11:40pm. The policemen there told me that tickets had been sold since early morning, and that the line originally stretched for several hundred meters. This particular location was selling tickets only for Field Hockey and Tennis!

When I got home, I saw this NYTimes article. Sounds like things didn’t go all that smoothly at the Bird’s Nest.

Actually, the whole ticket selling process has been a huge ordeal, with lots of hiccups/disasters. The initial round, in which you chose 10 events and 10 backup events, went pretty smoothly, but recent rounds of sales have involved long lines and computer crashes. Of course, when you have a country with over a billion people, all of whom have probably at one point or another thought that it would be interesting to go to the Olympics, selling and distributing a limited number of tickets can be challenging.

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  1. I feel confused even upset when every time, we will find that there are a huge differences between the domestic reports and the western’s. As you mentioned in your blog. No offence, but I really don’t know why on earth the western media likeNYTimes are always try to report the awful side of China. And always feel free to exaggerate each issue. I admit that China do has some unfavorable facts like every nation does, but I don’t think it can be described in such a terrible way. Take the report on people who were waiting to buy the tickets as an example. Yeah, it didn’t go soomthly actually but it can be understand since China is such a vast country. Why not regarding it as a high time which showing the enthusiam of Chinese people and the supports from them? And what’s more,I really don’t think Chinese people were suffered a lot in buying the tickets this time. Yet, i know complain is complain, I can do nothing on this issue. All of these remarks are my personal view. I want to lieten your opinion on it, John. if possible.

  2. Cathy,

    Thanks so much for your comment. I understand your confusion, and I’ve heard other people express similar feelings.

    However, are you sure that the NYTimes always reports the “awful side of China”? Does the article about people purchasing tickets really represent “the awful side of China”? I don’t think so. In fact, the New York Times and other newspapers and magazine report on a variety of different aspects of China, and they tell a lot of interesting stories. I would encourage you to read more articles in the Western media about China.

    Of course, there are times when the the Western media does do a poor job of reporting about China. For instance, there were several news sites that used pictures from Nepal of monks being arrested and insinuated that they were from China. But most of the time I think that most of the Western media tries very hard to present a balanced view of China.

    Remember that it’s hard to write about an unfamiliar culture, and that many of the reporters are actually doing a lot to help the world better understand China.

    Also, I think it’s important to remember that the Western news media generally reports more “bad” news than “good” news. It’s not news to them if ticket sales go smoothly, but it is news if there are problems. This is true not just for China but for almost every subject!

    Finally, I do think that trouble with ticket sales is newsworthy, especially given that there were troubles with the previous rounds of sales as well (computer crashes, etc.). The Olympics is such a huge logistical challenge that it’s important to report on any logistical problems that Beijing is having. You’re right that with China’s huge population it’s an extra-difficult challenge!

    Thanks again for your comment!


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