Before the world arrives, Beijing has instituted a campaign to get residents to stop spitting and rushing into buses and trains without waiting for people to get off. But if the Chinese have to clean up for company, why shouldn't their government?
The last thing anybody wants, including Farrow, is an Olympic boycott. It would make China a sympathetic victim, and innocent athletes would suffer. But China's feet must be held to the fire, even if that fire is an Olympic torch. And activists are lighting the flame any way they can by:
? Organizing an alternative torch relay, which will go from Darfur to Hong Kong, linking the bloodshed to its biggest banker (dreamfordarfur.org).
? Insisting Olympic sponsors (go to miafarrow.org for a list) lean on China to pressure Sudan to let the peacekeepers in.
? Writing protest letters to the Chinese government, such as the one just signed by 12 Cleveland Cavaliers.
? Convincing athletes, if nothing changes by 2008, to compete in Beijing wearing Dream for Darfur's Chinese-character tattoo (translation: China, please) on the inside of their wrists, a reminder of the way Germany's holocaust victims were tattooed.
"I wish I could take China's president to Darfur, take Mr. Spielberg there, every Olympic official," Farrow says. "Because once you've seen it, you can't turn away."
Do you remember Tiananmen Square, 1989? The guy who stood all alone, in front of a column of tanks? Today, that lone figure is tiny Mia Farrow.
Who will line up behind her?
(Full disclosure: SI has a hospitality and trademark license agreement with the IOC for the Beijing Olympics.)