According to a recent article in the Nigerian "This Day," it appears that the Beijing Olympics may have several fewer Africans than expected.
According the the article, Chinese embassies in Nigeria and other African states are making it difficult for Africans - including heads of state and sports federation leaders- to obtain the necessary documentation to travel to China for the event. Applicants are required to present evidence of ticket purchases, accommodation arrangements, and other pieces of information that some do not yet have or are unable to prove through paperwork.
If this is indeed the case, such actions, coupled with the 11 July Chinese veto of a UN Security Council resolution to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe put China in a rather curious position vis-a-vis its African colleagues. Especially in the eyes of ordinary Africans, China is increasingly assuming the role of villain. For many Zimbabweans, for instance, the outlook is now one of "us" versus "them," where "them" means Mugabe and his Chinese cronies.
When China first won the bid for the Olympics, there was much enthusiasm that the games would begin to change the face of Chinese policies. As the Telegraph's Richard Spencer observes, there is little sign of it so far.