Beijing Beat: Empty seats, lack of buzz

BEIJING (AP) -- Days after the start of the Beijing Games, some cracks are appearing in the image of China's perfect party.

There have been disappointing crowds on the Olympic grounds and empty seats at sports venues. A tourist was murdered on the first day of competition. There's also been embarrassment -- after officials admitted to trickery during the opening ceremony.

Officials now confirm that some of the vivid fireworks shown to TV viewers and the stadium audience featured computer-generated effects.

It's also been revealed that the pigtailed 9-year-old who sang at the ceremony was actually lip-synching. The real voice belonged to a 7-year-old girl who was considered less cute.

Meanwhile, Olympics officials say attendance is usually a problem during the first week of games. They expect crowds to grow, especially when the track competition starts later this week.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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