China to Censor Internet Coverage at The Olympics

July 30th, 2008 at 12:00 am

olympics beijing press censor

The Beijing Olympics is a week away and journalists are flocking into the Olympic Village to get first dibs on stuff going on there. Surprisingly, despite assurances from the Inernational Olympics Committee and the Chinese Government, the internet has been censored at the Olympic Village much like the rest of the country.

China is still a communist country (technically) and their political activities spanning the last half century are still much of a controversy including the invasion of Tibet, the violent and deadly riots at Tianamen Square, Taiwan’s independence, and even some amnesty issues are still hurting China’s international image. The Olympics is supposed to be an event that will cleanse that image of China. However, it seems like its just a facade for the communist regime.

The Olympic Village has opened its doors last friday including their press center for journalists. Indeed it look posh and savvy with all the latest technologies and the fastest internet. However, journalists are discovering that the internet even at the press center is still censored. Reporters were unable to access a foray of Web Pages. Among these pages are those that discuss Tibetan succession, Taiwanese independence, the violent crackdown of the protests in Tiananmen Square and the sites of Amnesty International, Radio Free Asia and several Hong Kong newspapers known for their freewheeling political discourse.

The Olympic games start on August 8 and according to a government spokesperson, journalists will indeed have limited access to the internet. Sun Weide, chief spokesman for the Beijing Olympics organizing committee says, “It has been our policy to provide the media with convenient and sufficient access to the Internet. I believe our policy will not affect reporters’ coverage of the Olympic Games.”

The International Olympic Committee or IOC quietly agreed to these limitations imposed by the Chinese government. However, te IOC is still pressing them to reconsider.