09/07/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Blowing Smoke: Olympic Torch Relay Fans May Be Faux

It appears that the jubilant cheering surrounding Yao Ming and China's first astronaut Yang Liwei -- though perhaps sincere -- was staged. "They're actors," says the son of a torchbearer, who received this information from his father's handler. "Fifteen hundred people were chosen to cheer on the torch, and then officials move those exact same people to the next leg." Mike, as he preferred I call him in order to protect his father's identity, didn't get to root for his dad as he carried the torch in Beijing today. Instead, he watched it in his hotel room, aiming a video camera at the television to record the moment. Mike's father tried to gain clearance for his family to attend the event, but was unsuccessful in swaying officials, who were probably desperate to avoid any incidents from happening in the host city. So what's next? Will the Bird's Nest be peppered with people from

Read more HuffPost coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games