Wednesday, July 30, 2008

China Blocks Internet Access for Foreign Journalists

China's Olympic organizing committee said that foreign journalists would not enjoy unfettered internet access during the Games which will begin on August 8th.

The International Olympic Committee had previously stated the Chinese government would allow journalists covering the games full internet access. The Communists, of course, filter Internet content they deem unsuitable for its populace. So if you want to read up on the activities of the Dalai Lama you can't do it in the People's Republic. Unless, of course, you read Xinhua's latest denunciation of the Tibetan spiritual leader. Indeed, last month Chinese President Hu Jintao said the Internet was a "battlefield forward position for the propagation of advanced socialist culture."

If nothing else, American and other Western journalists will have a first hand understanding of what it is like to be deprived of the freedoms which we take for granted.

It might also present an opportunity for journalists to find creative ways to work around the restrictions. Notwithstanding the restrictions, foreign journalists can get away with writing things that native Chinese never could. Would the Chinese actually arrest a foreign journalist? Then again probably not. If a foreign journalist were to run afoul of the Chinese they would simply ask the scribe to leave the country rather than draw negative attention to themselves.

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