Thursday, July 31, 2008
The Chinese government confirmed Wednesday what journalists arriving at the lavishly outfitted media center here had suspected: Contrary to previous assurances by Olympic and government officials, the Internet would be censored during the upcoming games.
Since the Olympic Village press center opened Friday, reporters have been unable to access scores of Web pages – politically sensitive ones 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.
On Wednesday – two weeks after its most recent proclamation of an uncensored Internet during the Summer Games – the International Olympic Committee quietly agreed to some of the limitations, according to Kevan Gosper, chairman of the IOC press commission, Reuters reported.
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Gosper said that he regretted the limitations but that “IOC officials negotiated with the Chinese that some sensitive sites would be blocked on the basis they were not considered Games related.”
A government spokesman initially suggested the problems originated with the site hosts, but on Wednesday, he acknowledged that journalists would not have unfettered Internet use during the Games, which begin Aug. 8.