Tuesday, September 16, 2003

BEIJING — There is English, and there is “Olympic Security English.”

The Chinese government has issued a guidebook of English phrases to prepare police officers for the hundreds of thousands of foreigners expected to flood the capital, Beijing, for the 2008 Olympics.

The 252-page textbook gives officers language help in handling situations that range from universal problems — “blow into the intoxilyzer” — to difficulties particular to a tightly controlled society: “Shut up, so we can finish our search.”

In the first chapter, an officer confronts a foreign reporter in an exercise titled “How to Stop Illegal News Coverage.”

The journalist says he is gathering information about the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement, and is detained — an event that might come as a surprise to reporters sent to cover the Games but is routine for correspondents who live in China.

The policeman says Falun Gong is “beyond your coverage and illegal. As a foreign reporter in China, you should obey China law and do nothing against your status.”

The exercise ends with the reporter being taken away to “clear up this matter.”

In another lesson, a British woman from Hong Kong is detained on suspicion of auto theft. She insists: “You’re violating my human rights. I protest.”

The policeman responds: “No tricks. Don’t move.”

The manual is part of a multibillion-dollar face-lift for Beijing initiated after China was picked as the host of the Summer Olympics.

Beijing is building 16 stadiums and arenas and hundreds of miles of expressways and subway lines. It also is promising to cut pollution and stamp out littering, spitting and the raising of livestock in urban areas.

The lessons in “Olympic Security English” are demanding: The book includes a vocabulary of 2,500 words as well as 100 phrases needed by police, such as “obstructing the discharge of official duty.”

The guide is filled with such unsavory topics as dealing with foreigners involved in brawls, shoplifting, drug peddling, illegal arms possession — and the lonely sports fan who has had too much to drink.

“I want a girl to drink with me,” a man declares in an exercise called “Dissuading Foreigners from Excessive Drinking.”

A security guard warns the man to behave or he’ll call the police.

“Mind your manners!” the guard says.

The tourist demurs.

“I won’t drink anymore,” he says. “I’m sorry.”

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