But, I'm back. Today's evidence that there is no intelligent life on Earth:
Beijing is moving protesters to where they're out-of-sight.
Now, I can understand registering for a protest; it's only polite. Likewise, I can see working with police or civil administration to allow unobstructed paths for athletes and spectators. However...
The application process differs for foreigners and locals who wish to rally at one of the three officially approved protest sites near far-flung sporting venues, which were announced by Liu at a news conference in Beijing on July 23.
(Emphasis, as always, mine.)
So, essentially, protesters get this: "Oh, of course, we wouldn't dream of impinging upon your right, as a citizen or foreign visitor, to protest. You are, as always, welcome to make your political statement. Just not where anyone will see you. You can go protest by the Ballroom Dancing pavilion. Shoo, now."
This, combined with the Great Firewall of China blocking out Amnesty International, as well as other sites critical of China from the Olympic pavilion (though the blocks on some of the more prominent websites were later lifted) earns China (and Beijing in particular) the title of Asshat of the Day.
Though, I suppose, I shouldn't be too critical of the Chinese. After all, the Americans came up with it first. And we've done it too - though with the agreement of the protesters, I grant you. And the Chinese constitution, at least, doesn't pretend that free speech is an inalienable right in which the government has no business interfering.