I am still grappling with the question of why China was awarded the honour of hosting the 2008 Olympic Games, given the government's continuing penchant for flagrantly violating the rights of its citizens. Sure, back when they were bidding to host the games, 7 years ago, government officials assured news organizations that they would have complete freedom to report the games, as they have during past Olympic Games. Right. Easy to pay lip service when you have no intention of complying. Did anyone truly believe those promises? I guess not because, we come to find out, the International Olympic Committee (although they deny it) secretly brokered a deal which allows China to, yes, block certain sensitive websites, even for foreign journalists, who are already complaining they've encountered blocked access to various sites. So much for promises. Then again, did people expect anything different from a government that has exercised such suffocatingly tight control over its own people, for decades. And as for all their assurances they'd improve their human rights record, as a condition for hosting the games- empty promises.
If tourists think they will have carte blanche over there, think again. It's been confirmed that they too will be subject to censorship, and who knows what else. International hotel chains have been ordered to install software that will monitor the Internet activity of their guests, and there will be punishment for those who do not comply. So not only do they subject the Chinese people to censorship, they are forcing those same restrictions on visitors to their country. How's that for a warm welcome.
What I find most appalling is that they blatantly lied to ensure they would win the bid to host the 2008 Olympic Games, and that the IOC and the world was stupid enough to believe them.
UPDATE: Due to international pressure, as of 8/1/08, the Chinese government has lifted the ban on some sites, including Reporters Without Borders (RSF), although others continue to be banned, including any sites relating to Tibet or The Falun Gong. Some progress, but not enough!