China Bans Tibetan Flags At Olympic Event

Beijing leaders hope to head off protests in Hong Kong
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 18, 2008 7:59 AM CDT
Jay Ford of Australia rides his horse Takeover Target, right, across the finish line to win the SIA Krisflyer Sprint horse race on Sunday May 18, 2008 in Singapore. Takeover Target is followed closely...   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Tibetan flags will be banned from all Olympic equestrian events in Hong Kong under rules aimed at heading off political protests inside competition venues, organizers said today. While China has tightened visa restrictions to keep out protesters during the Olympics, activists could demonstrate in Hong Kong, which grants visa-free access to citizens of many Western countries.

The Hong Kong ban covers all flags representing countries and regions not participating in the events. Organizers moved the equestrian event from Beijing to the former British colony because of a rash of equine diseases and substandard quarantine procedures on the mainland.