China rapped for "stone face"; IOC urges smiles

OSLO Mon Aug 11, 2008 1:51pm EDT

Paramilitary policemen stand in heavy rain at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, August 10, 2008. REUTERS/Nir Elias

Paramilitary policemen stand in heavy rain at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, August 10, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Nir Elias

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OSLO (Reuters) - Chinese police and military are frightening tourists with a "stone face" at the Beijing games and should smile more, a senior International Olympic Committee (IOC) member was quoted as saying on Monday.

Norwegian Gerhard Heiberg, chairman of the IOC's marketing commission, said he had taken the matter up with Chinese officials and urged a happier and more welcoming attitude.

"We think that in particular the military and police can behave in a different manner," Heiberg told the Norwegian daily Aftenposten. "They look like stone faces."

"The Chinese are scaring the wits out of foreigners. We can't have it like this," said Heiberg. "When, in addition, they have weapons and look scary, it is even worse."

(Reporting by John Acher)

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