Radio Free Asia
Monday, Dec 15, 2008
Under pressure from foreign media, the Chinese government withdrew the ban on several overseas websites during the Beijing Olympics. These sites have recently been blocked again.
Two weeks before the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the Chinese government’s Internet firewall allowed access to several overseas websites which were considered very sensitive, including Radio Free Asia, Voice of America (VOA), BBC Chinese Network, Hong Kong’s Mingpao Daily News, Asia Weekly and Apple Daily News and others. However, these sites can no longer be accessed in China.
Huang Liangtian, former editor-in-chief for Journal of the Common People,” and current editor-in-chief for “China Agriculture Week” told Radio Free Asia, “Your website has been blocked since last month. Ming Bao Daily News and other sensitive websites have been very hard to open since early this month. BBC and VOA Chinese Network have already been blocked too.”
Like many throughout China, Huang is very dissatisfied with how the government has affected his ability to receive information. “They are throttling freedom of the press,” said Huang. “And it’s all because the Chinese government is not ready to open up to the outside world. The beneficiary group (the government) uses this method to maintain so-called stability. Superficial stability overrides everything [in China], even the law and freedom.”
(ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW)
When the Chinese government bid on and hosted the Olympic Games, they promised the world on several occasions that they would provide the foreign press with full freedom when they visited, including unblocking previously banned overseas websites.
In July, China’s State Press and Publication Director Liu Binjie emphasized that China’s freedom of information would not only be a promise honored during the Olympics, but a trend the nation would carry for the long term.
However, in less than half a year, sensitive overseas sites remain blocked again. Zan Aizong, an activist for Internet freedom, said that although he expected it to happen, he is still frustrated.
The reporter tried to contact China’s General Administration of Press and Publication to inquire about these blocked sites, but calls could not go through.
This article was posted: Monday, December 15, 2008 at 5:14 am