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The Non-Governmental Organizations Forum in Beijing was billed well below the high-profile U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women, but the bureaucrats' affair is unexpectedly stealing thunder from the main event. Six days before the grand U.N. event gets underway in the same city, the NGO conference opened with multiple broadsides at the Chinese government over everything from shunting the all-female delegations off to a remote location to circumscribing their demonstrations. "The non-governmental delegates are perceived as being more vociferous and difficult to manage than the delegates from the U.N. conference," says TIME's Barbara Maddux. "The Chinese want to keep them away from the press."