China Must Not Let Its Brief Democratic Light Go Out

From the Independent: There was something rather inappropriate about the timing of yesterday’s solar eclipse, some of the best views of which could be seen in China. There was darkness over the territory of the 2008 Olympic host just as the government in Beijing was relaxing its policy of censoring the internet and allowing a shaft of light into this still largely closed society. International journalists in the Chinese capital turned on their computers and found themselves able to access previously blocked websites run by, among others, Amnesty International and the BBC. Actually, we should not get carried away by this move from the Chinese government. All the signs are that this relaxation will be temporary, probably for the duration of the Games. It is patchy too. Only parts of Beijing and a few cities seem to have been granted wider internet access. And there is no indication that the regime’s assiduous corps of web censors is to be called off. Below are news on this topic yesterday: From Washington Post: The International Olympic Committee and the Chinese government acknowledged Wednesday that reporters covering the Olympics will be blocked from accessing Internet sites that Chinese authorities consider politically sensitive. The avowed censorship, although standard procedure for China’s millions of Internet users, contradicted pledges made earlier by IOC and Chinese officials that the estimated 20,000 journalists and technicians due in Beijing next week for the Olympic Games would have unfettered Web access. It was the latest in a series of steps taken by Chinese authorities reneging on promises they made seven years ago, when Beijing was granted the Games, to allow free reporting during the Olympics. In response, the Paris-based advocacy group Reporters Without Borders issued a guide on how to use proxy servers to get around China’s censorship. The Web-based ...
« Back to Article

One Response to China Must Not Let Its Brief Democratic Light Go Out

  1. Realist says:

    “It now appears the IOC has told Reuters will enforce Internet freedom for Western journalists during the Olympics after all”

    I’m afraid this is too little, too late. Public revelation of the IOC’s earlier secret promises to China has destroyed any remaining credibility this organization might have had.

    I for one still love the games, but the IOC’s pretension of concern about “values” is simply BS.