Even when they lied to your face about having clean air and unfettered internet access for journalists, did you really think they were being forthright with you?

The International Olympic Committee failed to press China to allow fully unfettered access to the Internet for the thousands of journalists arriving here to cover the Olympics, despite promising repeatedly that the foreign news media could “report freely” during the Games, Olympic officials acknowledged Wednesday.

Since the Olympic Village press center opened Friday, reporters have been unable to access scores of Web pages — among them those that discuss Tibetan issues, Taiwanese independence, the violent crackdown on the protests in Tiananmen Square and the Web sites of Amnesty International, the BBC’s Chinese-language news, Radio Free Asia and several Hong Kong newspapers known for their freewheeling political discourse.

The restrictions, which closely resemble the blocks that China places on the Internet for its citizens, undermine sweeping claims by Jacques Rogge, the International Olympic Committee president, that China had agreed to provide full Web access for foreign news media during the Games. Mr. Rogge has long argued that one of the main benefits of awarding the Games to Beijing was that the event would make China more open.

Everybody put on your shocked expressions: a country with a well-documented history of human rights abuses and draconian censorship has not ceded those habits at the wishes of the international community. Well, kiss my grits!

§2126 · July 31, 2008 · Tags: , , ·

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