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Page last updated at 08:00 GMT, Thursday, 31 July 2008 09:00 UK

Video of Olympic rehearsal leaked

Chinese athletes in front of the Olympic rings near the Athletes Village, July 27, 2008.
Performers in the opening ceremony have been sworn to secrecy

A South Korean television station has broadcast a secret dress rehearsal for the opening of Beijing Olympics, irking the Chinese organisers of the Games.

The SBS network aired just over a minute of footage of next week's ceremony, saying it had recorded the event legitimately.

"We went, and nobody stopped us. So we just shot," a staff reporter at the private station's sports desk in Seoul told the Reuters news agency.

But China has complained about it.

"We are disappointed they did that, but the fragments cannot give the audience a full picture of the opening ceremony," Sun Weide, spokesman for the Beijing Organising Committee for the Games, was quoted as saying by China's official Xinhua news agency.

"Let's wait for the wonderful performances when the Games open on August 8," he added.

Futuristic theme

The ceremony has been a closely guarded secret, despite having more than 10,000 performers in the show which has been in the works for three years.

Games organisers had reportedly made performers sign confidentiality agreements not to divulge details of the extravaganza, directed by Oscar nominee Zhang Yimou.

Officials have only revealed that it will portray thousands of years of Chinese history and that it will include fireworks and Chinese opera.

It is also expected to pay tribute to victims of the earthquake in the country's Sichuan province that killed nearly 70,000 people on May 12.

The footage, which was also first posted on video websites YouTube and Sina.com, a popular Chinese web portal, revealed a futuristic theme in part of the show.

It showed a moving sea of white tower blocks, bright lights, and hundreds of men practising martial arts.

There was also a huge red globe in the centre of the stadium and hundreds of people waving red flags, others beating drums, and multicoloured figures floating through the air.

A giant scroll being opened is also seen in the footage.

It did not show the lighting of the Olympic torch.

The clip has since been taken off both websites.

But it is now available on another video portal, liveleak.com, with the subheading "This is the video you weren't supposed to see..."


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