It certainly reminds one of the Moscow Olympics 1980 and the great meat crisis. One of the results then was the upheaval in Poland. Wonder what the coal, food and water shortage will result in in China. The big difference between Moscow 1980 and Peking 2008 is of course the implication a political/economic crisis in China will have on the global economy.
BTW, it beats me how anyone, and especially those who are supposed to be experts on China, could fail to see this coming. Allow me to tell a shortish anecdote from the one time I travelled in Central Asia.
Almost to the day 15 years ago, I and a few friends, found ourselves in Golmud, the second largest town in the Qinghai province, on the main road to the Tibetan high plateau. Since we were more than 4 people we were not allowed to travel alone, but were guided (and supervised) by guides from the Chinese tourist agency. The local guides that had met us in Golmud were extremely uninteresting, and by mid-afternoon they had taken us through their program and wanted to escort us back to our hotel (were we would be - more or less - locked up until we would continue our journey next day). We had, however, already complained to our Chinese tour leader, and she had promised us that she would take us to one more site as long as we suggested something. Some of my friends came up with the brilliant idea (not!) that we should be allowed to visit a Chinese factory.
It was quite obvious that this suggestion caused great consternation among our guides. I tried to persuade my colleagues to abandon the idea since I started to suspect what was about to happen, but no.....
So, eventually, we were driven to a building that we were told was part of a combine producing household appliances. We waited outside the gate for half an hour or so, while some of the guides were inside organizing our visit. And then, about one hour before closure the workers, mostly women, started to file out through the gate. They did not look happy, and no wonder, they had probably just lost one hour's wages. A few minutes later our guides returned together with an older man who we were told was the site manager. The visit was cancelled due to an electricity cut. That's why the workers had left early. So that was that, except that when we returned to our hotel, which was not even 10 minutes drive from the factory, the electricity worked, and had obviously worked all day.
Well, if you can shut down a factory like that, to avoid a totally non-official visit by 8 tourists - instead of just telling us it was out-of bounds - what would the Chinese authorities not have done for their Olympic show?