"All visitors should be aware that they have no reasonable expectation of privacy in public or private locations. All hotel rooms and offices are considered to be subject to on-site or remote technical monitoring at all times. Hotel rooms, residences, and offices may be accessed at any time without the occupant's consent or knowledge."
That's the warning inside a U.S. Embassy statement regarding travel in China. A colleague of mine just passed that out, "just to make sure everyone was aware." Nothing was totally surprising, I suppose -- we were prepped before we left -- but it's still a trip to see it in print.
China's positions on human rights and privacy and freedom of the press are getting new attention following the. He spoke in Thailand, on the eve of his visit to Beijing and Friday's opening ceremony.
The president said: "America stands in firm opposition to China's detention of political dissidents, human rights advocates and religious activists."
That sounds like a harsh rebuke of China's leadership, especially on the eve of the Games. And it's clear a message was delivered.
But a Peking University professor whom we talked to this afternoon said the president's remarks were carefully measured, and they won't get him disinvited. There seems to be a recognition here that the president had to say something to appease critics of China, but that the speech won't have a huge short-term impact.
To be sure, there are issues. That U.S. Embassy warning was delivered for a reason. But right now, it seems, China's primary goal isn't to make the rest of the world happy. It's to make sure the vast majority of its own people are happy with the way these Olympic games are carried out.
External criticism, while no doubt annoying to the government, is trumped by internal opinion.