Shock! Authoritarian dictatorship restricts information & breaks public pledge – who could have predicted it?

The International Olympic Committee has been putting on a gold medal performance with their attempts to look surprised by the Chinese government’s brazen censorship of the internet and restrictions on the actions of journalists, in breach of the pledges they made when the were awarded the Games.

Here’s a link to the IOC’s Fundamental “Principles” of Olympism, which includes many noble assertions, such as “Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on …. respect for universal fundamental ethical principles”.

I have to agree with Andrew Bolt.

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17 Comments

  1. Andrew,

    You make it sound like this is a bad thing…..

    I tend to think that the most dangerous enemy is an underestimated enemy. This Olympics will highlight the totalitarian parts of the Chinese State which are an enemy to freedom. They’ve always been there and the Olympics has NOT increased their power.

    If anything, the usage of that power at the olympics will galvanise the rest of the world and make them aware of the threat. Short term loss for reporters at the Olympics who temporarily lose ability for free speech – but they’ll get that right back when they get home… and won’t they have some stories to tell?

    I think the Chinese State will do themselves serious damage, becuase now that they have demonstrated their ruthlessness, they will no longer be overlooked.

  2. Andrew:

    Ah well what did you expect.

    Andrew Bartlett and Andrew Bolt agreeing ” Unbelieveable”

    Is Bob Brown Packed yet?

    Tony

  3. That’s not a bad thought RA, I’d rather have the news media – organisations and journalists both, exposed to what a totalitarian state is capable of than for them to have a false experience and come away full of praise.

    I hope the sensors turn the screws tight and make the journos moan. Then we might not hear to much of the slavish “Oh China, the magnificent” that we have had of late.

  4. I’m getting pretty sick of the nonsense re China and the Games.Those responsible for the current situation are those who gave the Olympic Games to Beijing in the first place.China should have been told at least 8 years ago,that if they proved they could democratize the country, allow freedom of speech etc then the IOC would consider them in 4 years time-it didn’t happen,and now all those who pupport to care for human rights are screaming. We’ve had the debate re athletes taking a ‘moral’ stand and not going; the public not going or not watching the coverage, but it’s never even been muted that we stop loading ships with coal and sending them off to China(the only complaints about these ships are that they’re forced to wait too long to be loaded); the stores are being filled with summer garments with ‘Made in China’ on their labels, as we speak! The person who organized the Torch Relay in China is an Australian woman???

    Never has it been suggested that the big multinationals and others, the TV coverage or other media outlets boycott Beijing-no, we mustn’t allow human rights to interfere with capitalism must we? It’s also not publicized, that if you stand in a public park in London and read the honour roll of fallen military in Afghanistan or Iraq, you can be arrested! Nothing about Diego Garcia, nothing about the US’s long term practice of invading other countries and killing the innocent inhabitants;not a word about Guantanamo Bay and boycotting US athletes, not a word about the PATRIOT Act or the homeless being ‘removed’ from the streets in Sydney’s CBD as they’d embarrass us during World Youth Week, or in 2000 when we hosted the games or??. I’m sick to death of the hypocrisy! Incidentally, it’s not necessary for Australian or ?? journalists/commentators to have access to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch or the BBC, to report on the competition in Beijing! They’re going there to cover the Olympic Games? Aren’t they?

  5. If Andrew Bartlett’s Comments Policy is anything to go by, those websites would have been censored due to them being off-topic. Why would a reporter visiting Beijing to cover the Olympic Games need to visit a Falun Gong website? Anything that is off-topic needs to be censored by Andrew Bartlett.

  6. “Why would a reporter visiting Beijing to cover the Olympic Games need to visit a Falun Gong website?”

    um… maybe because reporters in Beijing for the Games want to also look at and report on other aspects of life in China? There are millions of Falum Gong practitioners in China – admittedly a number of them have been imprisoned, put in forced labour camps, etc. Some of them – gasp! – even have the temerity to complain about the undisputed widespread and brutal persecution inflicted on Falun Gong practitioners. Why should reporters invited to Beijing by the Chinese dictatorship as way of indicating China is opening itself to the world, be prevented from examining this aspect of life in modern China?

    Or are you suggesting the Chinese government is not actually wanting to use the Games to promote China, and therefore the media should not run any stories about Chinese culture, history, society, etc while they are at the Games, and the the Olympics is just a sporting event with no other social or political significance to the Chinese government?

    And of course all of those websites are censored all the time for all Chinese citizens – I guess its always “off topic” for people to know about human rights, to read the BBC website, to get anything outside “reality as approved” by the government?

  7. Naomi Cartledge: What’s the one about getting arrested in a park for reading names about?

    If you are as passionate in life as you are in expressing your views, then you should be voting with your “hip pocket” (sexism acknowledged, though unintended) by being an extremely selective shopper. You’d have to give up the computer though!

    No coal for China? I guess the mining companies could cut off China and advertise thus:

    ————
    COAL FOR SALE
    Register interest by applying in writing including references, UN and IPCC approval. Short listed applicants will be notified and subsequently visited & inspected by our ever roaming representative, Kevin Rudd.
    ————

    Censor This: I’m not sure how anything thus far could be construed as way off topic. I think you may be just stirring the pot.

    Andrew Bartlett: Your moderating track record for staying on topic seems to show that you err on the generous side I’d have thought (I may be guilty of the odd tangent myself).

    It’s a bit hard as an Australian to imagine a valid reason to block internet access for Olympic journo’s.

  8. Andrew, your comment takes out of context the comment about this blog’s Comments Policy. All that I was trying to get at was that any comments that do not comply with the Comments Policy and are off-topic will be subject to your moderation.

  9. Well people can see the ‘context’ of your comments and my reply, and judge for themselves.

    As GZG kindly notes, I tend to err on the generous side in any case when it comes to relevance, but even if I didn’t, trying to draw a link between moderating a comment thread for relevance and blocking the ability of people to access a site at all is extremely tenuous, to put it politely,

  10. In 2002 then Chinese Olympic official and IOC member (don’t know if he still is) He Zhenliang, said that accredited sports journalists would only be allowed to cover sport. I don’t know why anyone is surprised.

  11. I think Rates Analyst has the intellectual high ground in the matter.

    Let’s just cool our heels and wait.

    After the Chinese government has slung enough mud, they can rest assured plenty more is going to catapult back from every direction.

  12. GZG -It’s part of Britain’s version of the PATRIOT Act(there’s one man who’s been doing this near the Parlt and has been arrested several times I believe-he isn’t fazed though-keeps on)in many ways the Australian version is worse than Britains(although they’ve just added to the days a person can be detained without charge)NSW Act is worse than Howard’s in many ways-we also have water cannon,tayzer guns(another death during the last week or so in the US).NSW police now have the right to have people under surveillance,tap phones etc outside our borders etc.We aren’t exactly ‘squeaky clean’ when it comes to human rights or freedoms.The IOC knew about China;leaving it until the 11th hour is stupid! Anyway, at last news, all outlets for visiting journalists have been opened up! Access to any or all requirements! The same doesn’t apply to residents I’m sure, but we all knew that 4-8 yrs ago at least???

    GZG if you are deliberately trying to miss the point re China, Trade and our outrage re human rights, you’re doing a good job! I haven’t heard one word from govts asking multinationals etc to have blank screens as a protest during the Games, when they hope to make millions – otherwise they wouldn’t place ads in the first place. It’s hypocrisy of the worst kind, and I find it annoying and tiresome! Our famous organizer (Rick??)for the great opening ceremony in 2000, is (as he has done since then) in China assisting them in their Opening Ceremony! No complaints about that is there? has there been? No, I didn’t even know until I heard him being interviewed yesterday on ABC Grandstand! So, we’re pretty involved ‘up front’ for a country being outraged by China’s lack of human rights!

    As for me shopping with my “hip pocket”?Lack of finances has forced me into that way of life for most of my life! This is my 2nd computer courtesy of my eldest son who also pays for my (2 yrs)Broadband connection each month. I guess my “humanist” qualities ‘infected’ him too LORIKEET

  13. Here’s another blow for the rights of US citizens & visitors.

    Their Department of Homeland Security (security for whom?) has indicated that they can confiscate a laptop/notebook for a “reasonable period of time” to “review and analyze information” in the absence of any “individualized suspicion.”

    Relax my friends, it’s all for our own good, the government just wants to keep us safe, as do the benevolent Chinese rulers want what’s best for their subjects.

    Naomi Cartledge:As long as you would have “govts asking multinationals etc to have blank screens” (whatever that means, perhaps a media boycott of some kind), it seems like “annoying & tiresome hypocrisy” for you to conversely buy & use Chinese clothing, computers and doubtless a plethora of other goods.

    My point I guess is that there is a place for serious protest rather than melodramatic hyperbole with the “pot calling the kettle black”.

  14. GZG:

    I hate to give anyone a scare, but some people working in Australia have the ability to infiltrate anybody’s computer from anywhere they choose, and give it a thorough examination as well.

    NAOMI:

    I’m glad your son is good to you. I find that people learn various lessons from different sources, but I think the greatest contributor is the gene pool.

    It is said that “the apple never falls far from the tree”, but I maintain that the tree has many branches.

    Mum said she thinks I’m very much like my maternal great-grandmother, even though she lived in a different era altogether, and died before I was born.

  15. I haven’t seen a great deal of it, Censor This, but I haven’t greatly enjoyed much of what I have seen. Do you think the many thousands of people in forced labour camps in China are enjoying watching it? Maybe some journalists might be allowed in to ask them.

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