Amnesty, RSF, BBC China websites unblocked
Three websites blocked in China earlier this week are NowUncensored.
The last two days have seen some serious complaints from the international media about China's ongoing Internet censorship, which was supposed to be suspended at least for international media during the Games: see Jane Macartney's piece in The Times published this morning: How internet Great Firewall is souring relations with the media.
And the sun has come out and the sky is blue in Beijing.
However, websites of organizations like Falungong and Tibetan exile organizations are still blocked.
Wednesday, July 30: China to censor internet during Olympics | - The issue of media censorship has been bubbling under the surface of the Olympics. On Wednesday, the day after foreign journalists complained about being unable to visit Amnesty International's website at the Main Press Center in Beijing, China publicly announced its decision to censor the internet during the Games.
China will censor the Internet used by foreign media during the Olympics, an organising committee official confirmed Wednesday, reversing a pledge to offer complete media freedom at the games.
"During the Olympic Games we will provide sufficient access to the Internet for reporters," said Sun Weide, spokesman for the organising committee.
He confirmed, however, that journalists would not be able to access information or websites connected to the Falungong spiritual movement which is banned in China.
Other sites were also unavailable to journalists, he said, without specifying which ones.
Tuesday, July 29: Amnesty reports censorship at Olympic Press Center | - One day after releasing a report accusing China of "betraying" the values of the Olympics by failing to meet promises to improve human rights, Amnesty International claims its website is being blocked to journalists at the Main Press Center in Beijing.
Foreign journalists working from the Olympics press centre in Beijing are unable to access amnesty.org - the Amnesty International website. A number of other websites are also reported to have been blocked.
As Amnesty International prepares to launch a new report evaluating the Chinese authorities’ human rights performance in the run-up to the Olympics, this flies in the face of official promises to ensure “complete media freedom” for the Games.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has on many occasions highlighted the loosening of restrictions on foreign media in China as an example of an improvement in human rights brought about by the hosting of the Olympics. On 17 July Jaques Rogge, IOC President, went as far as to claim that ‘there will be no censorship on the internet.’
Kevan Gosper, chairman of the I.O.C.’s Press Commission, also said he would look into reports of slow Internet access at the Centre, which by the time the Games begin on August 8 is expected to welcome 20,000 accredited journalists.
Sam Zarifi, Amnesty’s Asia Pacific director, said he began hearing about the problem after he directed reporters working at the Main Press Centre to his website to view the recently released report. “It is really disappointing,” he said in a telephone interview. The Chinese government’s “one big, begrudging promise was that foreign media would have free access on all issues, everywhere.”
Zarifi said that in addition to the Amnesty International site, he also received reports that other sites were also unavailable, including those belonging to the German news station Deutsche Welle and BBC’s Chinese websites.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told Reuters that while some sites — such as those related to Falun Gong, which the Chinese government considers a cult — are indeed being blocked, he suggested that the problem with other sites could have originated with their hosts. “There are some problems with a lot of websites themselves that makes it not easy to view them in China,” Liu said.