Shanghai bans troublemakers leaving city during Olympics

SHANGHAI Tue Jun 24, 2008 3:11pm BST

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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's financial hub of Shanghai has sent notices to dissidents, petitioners and other "controlled" people banning them leaving the city during the Olympics to ensure security, a rights group said on Tuesday. They are also not allowed to give their political opinions to the foreign media, leave the country or store weapons or explosives at home, the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said in a statement.

A Shanghai police spokeswoman said she could not immediately comment, but added she was unaware of the existence of such a notice.

"In order to strengthen public order during the Olympics and ensure the Games go smoothly, these are the rules important controlled people in our area must follow from April 1 to October 31," according to a copy of the statement provided by the centre.

"Do not pick quarrels in public places", "Do not express any political opinion to foreign reporters" and "Do not distort the truth, intentionally spread rumours or use other methods to whip up and disturb social order", the rules state.

Those who break the rules would be warned, detained or prosecuted, depending on the severity of the charge, it adds.

The centre said the notice had also been sent to members of the banned spiritual sect Falun Gong and members of underground religious groups.

China, which already claims to have cracked domestic terror plots targeting the Games, is taking no chances with the Summer Olympics, opening in Beijing on August 8.

It has tightened up on visas for foreigners and last week ran the Olympic torch relay through the sensitive regions of Tibet and Xinjiang virtually as military exercises, guarding the route with both police and soldiers.

(Writing by Ben Blanchard)

(For more stories visit our multimedia website "Road to Beijing" here; and see our blog at blogs.reuters.com/china)

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