Tibet is still closed off to foreigners and the mood of local government leaders is certainly not pleasant. As briefly expounded by one of the vice ministers I attended a forum with recently: The reason Beijing is so irked with the Tibetan situation (over the humanitarian reasons of course), is because for the last few years the PR line and public mindset has focused and relied on the 2008 Olympics to be THE representation of all that is modern and impressive in China. Why does the Olympics need to be the opening act of Chinas entrance to the world stage? Is it not enough for it to be a great success? Why does the slogan chanted in the city have to be “New Olympics, New Beijing?” What is wrong with New Olympics, Old Beijing?
To host the Olympic games is certainly a great honor and responsibility, but this country has hyped it to an extent that any bad press has an almost double effect on the international view and mood on China. They will need to sober up a little bit, because this negative public view does not look to dissipate anytime soon. With the torch making its way to Beijing and with comparatively quite bit of stops to make (over 20), I would think there will be quite a bit of damage control in the coming months.