And before the games have even begun, the relationship between China and the Western press has become a story.
China's short-tempered and nationalistic online community sparked death threats this past spring against outlets whose coverage of the Lhasa riots was deemed slanted toward the Tibetans. CNN doubled its blacklist status when commentator Jack Cafferty called the Chinese "thugs and goons"--meaning the regime, he said afterward, too late to mollify the public.
Craig Simons, the Asia bureau chief for Cox Newspapers, said that a cab driver this month had asked him if he worked for CNN. Mr. Simons said he did not. The cabbie declared that he would have refused to carry him if he had. "We were on Second Ring Road, in heavy traffic, and he said he'd pull over right there and drop me on the shoulder," Mr. Simons wrote in an e-mail.
Under these conditions, status and etiquette begin to get slippery.
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