China has come a long way since it won the bid to host the 2008 Olympics. It has bribed its way to secure the bid, stifled its opponents, intimidated those who speaks the truth, repressed and tarnished the outspoken activists domestic and worldwide. Now, with the venues all complete, the disposable workforce are evicted so their slums maybe face-lifted to a representable China. In the name of security, a city is now in complete lockdown mode, stripped away all its vitalities so the slightest chance of "supposed" terrorists attack would be unfold before its too late. In addition to the ridiculous Visa rules, the government has also imposed numerous restrictions on foreigners so their whereabouts and intention would not pose a threat to national security. So that its brainwashed citizens, upon interacting with a foreigner, would still abide by and not question the authority. To further the alienation, it has even gone great length to create a manual devising citizens as to how to identify a terrorist and react to in case of a terrorist event, and even set up designated areas for government-sanctioned "protests," bringing closure to the total farce of hosting the Olympics.
Is Beijing ready for Olympics? Yes and no. It is ready with world-class sports venue and a polished image ready to shine, but with an alienated hospitality and pretentious warmth, it is hardly ready to embrace the worldwide audiences, foreign dignitaries, and critics. Maybe an Olympics without the fanfare, synonymous to its torch rely, is exactly what Beijing is looking for, considering the effort it has so far vested in.
An Olympics without the fanfare is truly an event worth watching. Just think about it, the athletes will be able to concentrate without any distraction. How nice is that? :)
Two noticeably prominent media blogs on Beijing Olympics are Middle Kingdom from Geoffrey York and BBC's James Reynolds' China.