Violence at Olympics Is Shock in Otherwise Safe Beijing

Editor's Note: Jodi Noffsinger, an American living in Beijing, is filing regular updates on the scene at the Olympics in The Beijing Blonde column on

BEIJING — I'm shocked and saddened by today's news of the stabbing of two Americans attending the Olympics and one Chinese tour guide.

It's heartbreaking that something like this could even happen in Beijing, which in my experience has been one of the safest cities I've ever lived in or visited. Never once have I felt threatened by the Chinese, and I've often heard, living here, that violent crime against foreigners is rare.

Especially so during the Olympics, since 100,000 security forces are watching over the city.

Earlier in the day, unaware of the attack at the Drum Tower, I happened to be in that neighborhood for an Olympic party. Traffic was particularly congested getting there, which I now know is because the roads around the tower were closed as police investigated the scene.

Sitting in traffic, my husband and I even commented on how many more security and police forces we now see around town. They're everywhere, from the Olympic venues, to hotels, to our apartment complex. We even noticed that on every footbridge overpass, three to four soldiers were standing guard.

This increased security presence is slightly intimidating since it's a contrast to what I saw daily before the Olympics. I rarely saw police on the streets. In my two years here, I've only seen police at the sight of a car accident, but never once have I witnessed enforcement of routine traffic rules.

I definitely experienced more police presence living in New York City than I typically see here.

With a major event like the Olympics and the terror threats that come with it, I haven't been fazed by any of it. I've honestly felt safer since I know there is increased awareness and China has spared no expense, no security detail to ensure the safety of the games.

It's sad that what appears to be a random act of violence now casts a shadow over such a spectacular start at Friday's opening ceremonies.