|The problem with signing treaties with China is that when the Chinese are strong enough to reverse them, these treaties will simply be referred to as "unequal treaties" and torn up. Still, the cost - showing up in Beijing - wasn't exactly exorbitant. Nonetheless, I wouldn't count on the Chinese abiding by the treaty.
However, they remain worried about political undercurrents among their people. These can be unexpected. Despite pervasive internet control, censors could not stop nationalist criticism about the diplomatic price China has paid for mounting the Games.
Exhibit one for the ultra-patriots was a border treaty signed on July 21 between China and Russia to settle disputes over their Siberian territories that led to armed clashes during the cold war. Official accounts of the treaty emphasised the return to China of 1½ islands in the icy Amur River that divides the two nations.
Online critics were enraged because the foreign ministry appeared to have recognised the 19th-century conquest of thousands of square miles of land by Tsarist Russia. “These lands belong to all the people of China,” a blogger called “Tiger” wrote. It was only on the day the treaty was signed that the attendance of Vladimir Putin at the opening ceremony of the Games was confirmed.