IOC caves to China Internet censorship

IOC admits it cut a deal with China to accept Internet censorship of non "Games-related" sites.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) admitted Wednesday that it made a deal with Chinese officials to accept censorship of the Internet during the Beijing Olympic Games, which begin August 8.

"IOC officials negotiated with the Chinese [so] that some sensitive sites would be blocked on the basis they were not considered Games-related," said Kevin Gosper, chairman of the IOC's press commission, according to press reports. "I regret that it now appears BOCOG [Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad] has announced that there will be limitations on Web site access during Games time," he added.

BOCOG's top spokesperson said Thursday that Web sites that are "banned" would remain so.

"If a few Web sites are difficult to browse, it's mainly because they have spread content that is banned by the Chinese laws," Sun Weide told the state-run Xinhua News Agency . "The Internet is regulated according to law in China, just like in other countries."

He called Internet access in China and during the Olympics "sufficient." "The channel is smooth for foreign journalists in Beijing to report the Games and report China using the Internet," Sun said.

Press freedom groups reacted quickly to the admission.

"Yet another broken promise," said Reporters Sans Frontieres (Reporters Without Borders, RSF) in a statement. "Coming just nine days before the opening ceremony, this is yet another provocation by the Chinese authorities. This situation increases our concern that there will be many cases of censorship during the games. We condemn the IOC's failure to do anything about this, and we are more than sceptical about its ability to 'ensure' that the media are able to report freely."

RSF's Web site is blocked to users in China.

"The Chinese government's controls on the Internet are contrary to the free reporting environment promised by the hosts and contradict International Olympic Commission assurances that the press will be able to operate as at previous games. Thousands of visiting journalists will now get to experience the censorship that reporters and other Internet users in China have to put up with every day," said a statement on the Web site of the Foreign Correspondents Club of China, an association of China-based foreign journalists.

China's insistence on Internet censorship violates assurances given to the IOC at various points, most recently in April. "We were satisfied by the assurances we received across a number of areas -- media service levels, including Internet access, brand protection, environmental contingency plans for improved air quality, and the live broadcast feed," said IOC Coordination Commission Chairman Hein Verbruggen [cq] during his final pre-games visit to Beijing in April.

China blocks access to Web sites containing pornography, violence, and anti-government material, including political views opposing the Chinese Communist Party, and those expressing support for independence for Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Steven Schwankert

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?