Last Thursday the free world plunged into an uproar as it learned that the 20,000 journalists covering the Olympics in Beijing were not getting the full Internet access that China and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had promised. Kevan Gosper, the IOC’s press chief, expressed surprise that some sensitive websites had been blocked by Chinese authorities. One of those “sensitive” sites, coincidentally, is the website of Radio Free Asia (RFA), my employer.
As someone whose full-time job is to bring uncensored news to China, I couldn’t help being amused by the international outcry in general and by Mr. Gosper’s expression of surprise in particular. They were shocked, shocked to find that there was censorship going on in China. Claude Rains would be proud.
While Mr. Gosper felt “personally galled” and “disappointed,” he nevertheless attributed Internet crackdowns by Beijing to “a whole range of issues including threats of terrorism in the past few months” that have “traumatized” China.