Thursday, 07 Aug, 2008 Offbeat
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Visitors Suffering from Mental Illnesses Banned from Olympics

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Foreigners with mental illnesses are banned from visiting the Beijing Olympics, according to the document released by The Beijing Olympic organizing committee.

The Mental Health Foundation was unhappy with the decision and said that this policy goes against the principles of the Olympics. The officials said that many sportsmen taking part in the Olympics are likely to suffer from mental illnesses but the ban will make them keep it a secret for fear of exclusion.

A nine-page guide, including 57 topics was issued on Monday was published on the organizer's official Web site. Anyone going against this guideline is expected to be "refused to board, enter China, or be fined".

The document says that having Olympic tickets will not be enough to enter China as visitors will have to apply for visas in China embassies and consulates. Chinese officials are worried about the possible protests during the Olympics, increasing control on visas and resident permits for visitors.

Any illegal gatherings and protests are said to be subject to administrative punishments or criminal prosecution.

The document states that entry to China will be denied to people "who might conduct acts of terrorism, violence and government subversion" as well as smugglers, drug traffickers, prostitutes, people with mental illnesses, STD's or epidemic diseases.

The guideline also says that visitors will not be allowed to certain areas of the country such as Tibet. It covers the list of items that cannot be brought to the country such as weapons, imitation weapons, ammunition, explosives, counterfeit currency, drugs and poisons.

The guide bars the display of insulting slogans or banners at any sporting venue and says that anyone insulting the national flag or insignia will face criminal prosecution. Visitors are also not allowed to sleep outdoors to preserve public hygiene.

The detailed document is considered to oppose the statement of the International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge, promising the freedom of speech in China.

Source: Stuff.co.nz

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