Ultra-tight ticket security for Olympic ceremonies,China has ratcheted up surveillance and security in every phase of the Beijing Olympics—even the tickets.
In a move unprecedented for the Olympics, tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies are embedded with a microchip containing the bearer’s photograph, passport details, addresses, e-mail and telephone numbers.The intent is to keep potential troublemakers from the 91,000-seat National Stadium as billions watch on TV screens around the world. Along with terrorists, Chinese officials fear protesters might wreck the glitzy ceremonies, unfurling Tibet flags, anti-China banners or even T-shirts adorned with strident messages.
Aside from concerns about privacy and identity theft, the high-tech tickets also threaten chaos at the turnstiles.Tickets for the Aug. 8 opening ceremony are the most expensive of the games — a top price of $720—and many are in the hands of dignitaries and friends. Delays could create terrible publicity on opening night.
China was toughened visa restrictions and increased checks at hotels and entertainment areas—all designed to keep track of foreigners as the games approach. Several large public gatherings have been canceled. Thousands of closed-circuit TV cameras will be deployed in and around the venues. Organizers have acknowledged that some security officials will be dressed in volunteer uniforms. Passengers riding the subway and major bus routes will also undergo strict checks.
China has developed some of the world’s most advanced RFID (radio frequency identification) technology, some aimed at keeping tight control over its citizens and borders. It’s used on Chinese driver’s licenses and ID cards.