Here’s a snip from an Andrew Jacobs story in today’s IHT:
In little more than 100 days, this city will open its arms to an unprecedented deluge of foreigners, many of whom will be pleasantly surprised by the dizzying array of designer boutiques, painfully hip martini bars and libertine pastimes not readily associated with an authoritarian, communist country.
But just as Beijing is promising to welcome 1.5 million visitors to the Olympic Games with newfound openness, public security officials are seeking to tighten controls over daily life, including new visa restrictions that are causing mounting anxiety among the 250,000 foreign citizens who have settled in the capital in recent years. The rules, which were introduced last week with no warning and little explanation, limit new visas to 30 days, making it difficult, if not impossible, for long-term residents to hold down jobs and maintain uncomplicated lives. The restrictions are also infuriating business leaders in Hong Kong who have become used to crossing the border with ease.
“I can’t begin to explain how serious this is going to be,” said Richard Vuylsteke, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong. “A barrier like this is going to have a real ripple effect on business.”