Some Web sites blocked at China Olympic press center

Journalists at the Beijing International Media Center are discovering China is still blocking access to some Web sites.

Journalists connecting to the Internet at the Beijing International Media Center (BIMC) are discovering that despite promises of an open reporting environment, China is still blocking access to some Web sites.

"I was at the BIMC this morning and I was unable to access Amnesty [International]'s site and a couple of others, including a Falun Gong site and Human Rights Watch," said Jonathan Watts, president of the Foreign Correspondents Club of China (FCCC) and a correspondent for U.K. newspaper The Guardian.

"These Internet controls are contrary to the host's promises of a free reporting environment, and they also contradict IOC assurances that reporters who come to Beijing will be able to do their job just as they were able to do so at previous Olympics. How can this be the case when they are unable to access many sites that are critical of the authorities," Watts said in an interview.

"Unfortunately this is an all too familiar experience for foreign journalists and other Internet users in China. Now thousands of visiting reporters will get to see first-hand the reality of Internet controls in China," he said.

Another reporter, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that those three sites were blocked, along with the Chinese-language sites for the Voice of America and the British Broadcasting Corp., and Hong Kong-based newspaper Apple Daily.

These observations confirm earlier reports that some sites were blocked at the BIMC, the headquarters for accredited journalists for the Beijing Olympics, which begin August 8. IDG News Service in Beijing achieved the same results from a standard home Internet connection in another part of Beijing.

A representative from China Netcom, the official provider of broadband and other fixed-line telecommunications for the Olympics, including the BIMC, could not immediately be reached for comment.

China issued new regulations for foreign reporters on January 1, 2007, designed to create greater press freedom during the run-up to the Olympics. However, the FCCC said that between that date and July 8, it had logged 259 incidents of interference with reporting activities of foreign journalists in China.

In April, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) received assurances from the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) that it would allow unfettered Internet access. "We were satisfied by the assurances we received across a number of areas -- media service levels, including Internet access, brand protection, environmental contingency plans for improved air quality, and the live broadcast feed," IOC Coordination Commission Chairman Hein Verbruggen said at the time.

China routinely blocks access to Web sites it deems inappropriate, including those containing pornography, violence, magic and superstition themes, and especially anti-government material, such as those critical of the Chinese Communist Party or supporting independence for Taiwan, Tibet, or Xinjiang.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Steven Schwankert

IDG News Service
Show Comments





Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?