Beijing Diary

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Missing dad

The father of one of China's shooting gold medallists abandoned his daughter to her coach's care 10 years ago, leaving a note, and she has not seen him since. But now China's online detectives are launching a major search to find Guo Wenjun's father. Guo has been heartbroken since he left, and even thought of quitting the sport a year ago, but her coach said he had convinced her to keep going by telling her that her father would be disappointed if she gave up. Winning gold could be the most effective missing persons notice.

Hunky guard

It seems a lot of young women in China are eager to know the identity of "second brother on the right". The handsome young man who bravely guarded the Olympic torch against Tibetan demonstrators during its troubled passage around the world has a huge fan club among young Chinese women but no one knows who he is. Toted most handsome torch guard by one website, he always stands second to the right of the flame and has been compared to Lei Fang, the hero-soldier of propaganda fame from the time of Mao Zedong. The China Daily has revealed that he is 25 years old, comes from the Shandong province, speaks several languages and runs six miles a day. But no name.

Sponsor anger

Olympic sponsors are apparently irate at poor turnout at many of the Olympic events so far and that even those attending have not been wandering around the large expanses of the Green where they have set up shop. Beijing organisers say all of the 6.8 million tickets are sold out but nonetheless have had to hire rent-a-crowd volunteers to fill empty seats. And these volunteers are not likely to linger in the pavilions showcasing the products of Volkswagen, GE and McDonald's. Olympic officials have been making soothing noises, saying they expect spectator numbers to start rising once the track and field competition begins tomorrow.

Telephone deja-vu

With the debate about Beijing's interference in the media raging, one British journalist had the surprise of his life when he went to make a call and heard an earlier telephone conversation he had had on his mobile being relayed back to him through the earpiece. Who says there's no snooping on journalists going on?