Remember that promise China gave the International Olympic Committee about members of the media having the same Internet access they had at prior Olympic Games in Beijing this year? How many of you thought that was actually going to be kept?
Good, because — surprise — not only are there sites (coughcoughAmnestyInternationalcough) that media members can’t access, it turns out that the IOC just copped to striking a deal with the Chinese government to allow them to block those particular sites and some pages. The Wikipedia entry on the Tianamen Square protests being one , and in a more amusing sense, Fire Joe Morgan is another. Apparently, one-party rule frowns on the concept of VORP, as one person is no more valuable than another in Communist countries.
I hate to double link to work I’ve done somewhere else in one day, but this is part and parcel with the debate over whether athletes ought to speak out in this sense: the IOC’s pretense about the ideal of athletic competition is about as flimsy (if not more so) than the NCAA’s use of the “student-athlete” mask for Division I revenue sports.
Jacques Rogge and his organization handed over an Olympic Games to a country with severe human rights violations on its record, horrific levels of air pollution, and limited speech and press rights. They did so with no concern for any promises that China made outside of getting the facilities prepared on time, because this is about money: making it for the IOC through its advertising and TV broadcasting rights fees, and tapping into one of the world’s most populous nations — at a cost of obvious credibility regarding the organization’s own charter.
You can only say that these games will force China to open itself up on so many times before there has to be some proof. This is the latest in a series of less than encouraging developments regarding Beijing and the Olympics; I doubt it will be the last we have when the Games end.
Olympic organisers agree to China blocking ‘sensitive’ Internet sites [Times UK]
Hu Jintao Does Not Care For OPS+ [Rocky Mountain News]
A Journalistic Highlight [Fire Joe Morgan]
Should Olympians Be Compelled To Protest In Beijing? [BallHype]