The 2008 Olympics are shaping up to be the most tightly controlled in terms of public relations there has ever been.
After reports that the authorities will be microchip tagging every last bag of vegetables being used in atheletes' meals as well as testing the food on mice before it's served, there are now suggestions that the traditional Chinese symbol of the dragon will be downplayed because it is 'too aggressive'.
The Telegraph reports:
China is considering slaying the dragon as its national emblem, because it fears the mythical beast suggests an aggressive nation.
The Ministry of Culture declined to comment on plans to tame, or drop, the dragon. But despite an attempt by state media to play down the idea, the call to replace the national emblem has sparked fiery public debate.
In a culture where every word and relationship is scrutinised for hidden meaning, the possibility of slaying the dragon is being seen as part of Beijing's attempt to airbrush China's image and appease Western sensitivities ahead of the the 2008 Olympic Games.
Full story is here.
Bizarrely, one of the less aggressive options being suggested is a hybrid of a dragon and a pheonix. Hmm, cuddly!