New York, October 24, 2007—The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the International Olympics Committee to insist that the government of China meet the commitments it made to remove all restrictions on foreign and domestic journalists before and during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The IOC is meeting with Chinese officials in Beijing this week to review preparations for the Games.
“When the Games were awarded to China in 2001, the IOC and the government made promises to the international community that China’s media would be free and open before and during the Games. China has shown some movement toward fulfilling those promises but not enough, particularly with respect to local, Chinese journalists. At present, 29 of them are incarcerated, the highest number for any country in the world. It is the IOC’s responsibility to remind China of the promises it made six years ago and encourage the government to make good on them for all media, foreign and domestic,” said Paul E. Steiger, chairman of CPJ’s Board of Directors.
“It is not unreasonable to expect the IOC to emerge from this round of meetings with a commitment from the government to remove all restrictions on Chinese and foreign media working in the country,” Steiger said.
In August, CPJ released a 79-page special report, Falling Short, which documented the extensive measures China uses to control the media. On October 19, CPJ’s Board of Directors issued a statement calling on China to release all of the journalists now imprisoned.