Japundit posted news about the supposed-to-be-cute-but-actually-kinda-scary mascots Beijing has chosen for the 2008 Olympiad. I don't know if it's intended or not, but in cartoon form they seem to be drawings of characters from Chinese opera.
From left to right the five of them are:
Beibei, a fish who plies the waters of the Taiwan Strait in order to spy on China's counter-revolutionary enemies. Beibei also appears from time to time near the Spratly Islands.
Jingjing, a giant big brother panda that is so large and oppressive it can omnisciently keep a watchful eye on every conceivable activity in the People's Republic of China to make sure that no one will accidentally threaten the existence of the Communist Party and its control of China.
Huanhuan, a flame of fire that Beijing promises to rain down on Taiwan if the "renegade province" ever declares independence.
Yingying, a Himalayan antelope that uses its antlers to round up and imprison Tibetans who dare speak out against Beijing for its brutal occupation of their ancient kingdom and its attempts to destroy Tibet's indigenous religion and culture.
Nini, a swallow who flies around northeastern China looking for North Korean citizens who have managed to escape the murderous grip of the Hermit Kingdom, so it can fly them back to the DPRK for certain impisonment and torture and possible death, both for them and their family.
The names were selected so that if you string together the first syllable of each name, you get bei-jing huan-ying ni, which means Beijing welcomes you.*
* Welcome not applicable if you are a North Korean refugee, a Tibetan or Uighur or Taiwanese who does not wish to be under Beijing's thumb, a religious person of any kind, someone who wishes the Chinese people to enjoy the fruits of democracy, an advocate of free speech and press freedom, a whistle-blower of Chinese corruption or Party wrongdoing, or anyone who might seem like even a minor threat to the Communist Party's unchallenged control of China. American, Japanese, and South Korean businesspeople with their fistfuls of dollars, yen, and won are encouraged to keep 'em coming; Beijing continues to promise cheap products for Walmart, the 100-yen shop, Lotte Mart, Carrefour, and Daiso if Washington, Tokyo, and Seoul continue to look the other way.