London, July 29 : Athletes staying in the Beijing Olympics athletes village will be able to purchase a wide variety of soft pornography, but cannot watch the Chinese news page of the BBC as it is still banned. The blocking of politically sensitive sites, including those dealing with Tibet and Taiwan, remained in place today despite government assurances that censorship would be lifted during the Games, The Telegraph reported.
The ban is in contrast to the more liberal attitude of the Games village bookshop, which sells erotic books featuring provocative pictures of naked women with titles such as "Drawing book for the Nude".
Such books used to be a common feature of provincial airport bookshelves in China, normally nestling in sections entitled "Art", but have gradually disappeared in the last few years under the more puritan regime of President Hu Jintao.
Readers can also choose between illustrated volumes of Chairman Mao's poetry, the memoirs of pioneers of hybrid rice development, or from a large collection of Agatha Christie novels.
The Olympic village, where 16,000 competitors will stay when the Games get under way next week, opened to great fanfare at the weekend.
Facilities, on the surface similar to those at previous host cities, nevertheless give an unexpected insight into the variety of modern Chinese life.
Athletes can enjoy a traditional tea ceremony, acupuncture and manicures, or enrol in a mandarin class where they will be offered the chance to have an official Chinese name based on their character.