Tuesday, July 29, 2008

China Cracks Down on Olympic Media’s Nefarious Internet Activity

Olympics reporters in Beijing hoping to sign on to the website of, say, Amnesty International shouldn’t even bother; China has blocked it, along with any website relating to “cult” Falun Gong, and perhaps anything else the government deems unacceptable. Not that China is acknowledging it might be filtering the Internet access of the Main Press Centre and International Broadcast Centre, nor the Athletes’ and Media Villages, which have opened in advance of the Aug. 8 opening ceremony. All of this has led the International Olympic Committee to begin investigating potential censorship by China, which promised media outlets the same reporting freedoms they enjoyed at previous games. But no matter what the IOC finds, China isn’t going to admit it’s done anything wrong. Rather, it’s the fault of the websites you’re all trying to visit — they probably didn’t validate their HTML or something!

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said media should be able to access the Internet as usual but he also conceded that sites related to Falun Gong, the spiritual movement China considers a cult, would be blocked. (NYT)

“As to sites related to Falun Gong, I think you know that Falun Gong is a cult that has been banned according to law, and we will adhere to our position,” Liu told a news conference.

He suggested that difficulties accessing certain websites could be the fault of the sites themselves.

“There are some problems with a lot of websites themselves that makes it not easy to view them in China,” Liu said.


OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

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