Falling Short: What They Said

What They Said

“Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example, and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.”
From the Olympic Charter, Fundamental Principles.

“There will be no restrictions on journalists in reporting on the Olympic Games.”
Beijing Olympics organizers in their official bid to host the 2008 Games, filed on January 17, 2001.

“We will give the media complete freedom to report when they come to China.”
Wang Wei, a vice president of the Beijing organizing committee, at a press conference on July 12, 2001, the day before the International Olympic Committee (IOC) named the city as host.

“But one day after the Chinese promised press freedom in reporting from this country as a key part of the bid, CBS News got a taste of a very different and very repressive reality.”
Barry Petersen, reporting from Beijing on the “CBS Evening News” of July 13, 2001, the day Chinese censors blocked the network from sending footage of the Falun Gong.

“Sites are prohibited from spreading news and information that goes against state security and public interest.”
The official Xinhua News Agency in announcing new restrictions on Internet content on September 25, 2005. Stories about “illegal” demonstrations and organizations are among the barred content.

“No one in China has been arrested simply because he or she said something on the Internet.”
Liu Zhengrong, deputy chief of the Internet Affairs Bureau of the State Council Information Office, to the official China Daily on February 15, 2006. At the time, at least 15 journalists were jailed for online writings.

“If our existing regulations and practice conflict with Olympic norms and our promise, we will make changes to conform with the International Olympic Committee’s requirements and Games norms. But all reporters will have to abide by China’s laws.”
Jiang Xiaoyu, vice president of the Beijing organizing committee, at a press conference on August 8, 2006.

“We should all remember that the Games are not judged solely by the technical proficiency of the project, but also through the perception that the world has of the Games.”
IOC President Jacques Rogge, addressing an IOC coordination commission meeting on October 24, 2006.

“I would definitely ask China to respect this moral engagement.”
Rogge, referring to the country’s pledges to improve human rights and press freedom, at a press conference in Beijing on April 10, 2008.

“I believe IOC officials support the Beijing Olympics and adherence to the Olympic charter of not bringing in any irrelevant political factors.”
Jiang Yu, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, in an April 10, 2008, response to Rogge’s comments.

» return to Chapter 2:
Words and Deeds: Confronting the Contradictions