Olympics: Games over, censorship renewed

With the Games completed, it’s back to Internet censorship as usual. Remember the issue about Web sites being blocked inside the Main Press Center? The problem was only partially resolved. After complaints, more sites became available to reporters inside the MPC and around the country, though many remained blocked. Research by OpenNet Initiative said that more than 50 Web sites related to news, human rights, and pro-Tibet groups were blocked in Beijing and in the MPC as the Games were about to begin. Some sites, such as Amnesty International, were eventually unblocked after journalists complained.

Not for long, according to one CPJ source.

I got a message this morning from an editor in Beijing who has kept me current with what is happening inside and outside the Olympic village. The person sent it soon after they had gotten into their office today. The subject line was “websites blocked again.”

“Hi Bob, you’ll be pleased to know that all those websites are blocked again. sigh…. such a short taste of freedom!”

I wonder if they went down at 12:01 Monday morning or immediately after the final ceremony Sunday night.

A related point: Several journalists stationed full-time in China who have spoken to us have asked that their names not be used. That’s partially because they aren’t authorized by their organizations to speak publicly, and partially because they’re concerned, reasonably it seems to me, that there will be some sort of retribution somewhere down the line. This Web site, www.cpj.org, after all, is still banned in Beijing.

(Reporting from Hong Kong)