China Lifts Internet Restrictions...But For How Long?

With the 2008 Olympic games about to start, China has finally lifted some internet restrictions that had been previously placed on foreign media and human right websites. Unfortunately, the world has no guarantee that these relaxed rules will continue once the Olympic ceremonies and sporting events have started.

President Hu Jintao gave a rare press conference to foreign journalists this week issuing the following statement, "Of course, we also hope that during their coverage foreign reporters will follow and abide by Chinese laws and regulations." This warning is what has many officials and journalists worried that their freedom to report the truth may be revoked if Chinese officials decide what they are publishing is false. Under Chinese rules, those acting as journalists agree to "observe journalistic ethics" and to not "distort facts, fabricate rumors, or carry out news coverage by foul means." Journalist also agree to not "engage in activities which are incompatible with unity or community and public interests."

Citing information received anonymously from hotels stating that officials will be monitoring all of their guests, US Senators as well as security experts are urging all travelers to encrypt their data and telling journalists to use clean computers and equipment to protect themselves as well as their sources.

Preparing for the worst, the Global Internet Freedom Consortium has stated that their anti-censorship software is available and ready to use for any journalist and tourist during the Olympics. This software, which is easily downloaded to a hard drive or USB drive, can be used if China goes back on their word and begins to block internet sites and words they consider "dangerous". Currently almost one million users worldwide are using these GIFC tools on a regular basis.

China has a history of "deleting" events from it's history, such as the removal of the actual events of Tiananmen Square from Google.cn and many worry that those covering the events at the Olympics will eventually have their work subjected to the same censorship. Unfortunately, only time will tell if China will hold up their end of the bargain as the world watches.

Link: Global Internet Freedom Consortium
Download: Download the up-to-date GIFC Anti-Censorship Tools Bundle

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I doubt they will arrest a journalist for publishing something they don't like. The Chinese government will simply censor it, and warn the journalist. IF the journalist doesn't listen, they will probably, at worst, get their press passes revoked for the remainder of the Olympic events. That's it.

I think that the world would have been much better served by the US working to boot that moron out than by getting rid of Saddam Hussein. Problem is that Bush just doesn't have the balls to do it.

I'm so over China and all it's crap..

The Olympics didn't really interest me to begin with, now I just want to boycott the whole thing.


Boycotting an event about bringing nations together, about the sporting achievements of individuals... in order to achieve what? If you don't support China then don't buy goods made there, whether trainers, iPods, clothes, toys or the like. Hijacking a sporting event for political protest is simply wrong, particularly when everyone is happy to continue buying Chinese goods. People just want to make a point without any sacrifice to themselves. It's like people that complain about pollution / environmental damage and yet continue to buy goods from heavily polluting countries like China.

I boycott goods from countries I object to (Israel, Zimbabwe, Sudan to name but a few). I also boycott companies that I oppose (Tesco, Barclay's, etc). I just see any protest against the Olympics as highly hypocritical, especially when the US has Guantanamo Bay and has approved electronic searches with need of suspicion.

(theyarecomingforyou said @ #4.1)
I boycott goods from countries I object to (Israel, Zimbabwe, Sudan to name but a few). I also boycott companies that I oppose (Tesco, Barclay's, etc). I just see any protest against the Olympics as highly hypocritical, especially when the US has Guantanamo Bay and has approved electronic searches with need of suspicion.

unfortunately it would be damn hard for somebody in this day and age to boycott anything made in China. I'd love to boycott chinese made goods and American companies that send jobs overseas for cheap labor, but yet I don't want to live in the forest and fish my own food with a stick, so I just have to accept what is.

(theyarecomingforyou said @ #4.1)
Boycotting an event about bringing nations together, about the sporting achievements of individuals... in order to achieve what? If you don't support China then don't buy goods made there, whether trainers, iPods, clothes, toys or the like. Hijacking a sporting event for political protest is simply wrong, particularly when everyone is happy to continue buying Chinese goods. People just want to make a point without any sacrifice to themselves. It's like people that complain about pollution / environmental damage and yet continue to buy goods from heavily polluting countries like China.

I boycott goods from countries I object to (Israel, Zimbabwe, Sudan to name but a few). I also boycott companies that I oppose (Tesco, Barclay's, etc). I just see any protest against the Olympics as highly hypocritical, especially when the US has Guantanamo Bay and has approved electronic searches with need of suspicion.

Perfect! (2)

(macrosslover said @ #4.2)
I'd love to boycott chinese made goods and American companies that send jobs overseas for cheap labor, but yet I don't want to live in the forest and fish my own food with a stick, so I just have to accept what is.
So basically you're saying it's too much effort to have principles? You basically want an easy way to have a go at China without having to change your lifestyle but unfortunately the world doesn't work like that.

(hagjohn said @ #4.5)
What's worse... someone who recognizes a problem and tries to do something or someone who doesn't do anything?

Yes, but it's like getting rid of your letter box because you don't want to receive junk mail - yeah it's quicker than trying to actually deal with the situation properly but it's a terrible way to address the actual problem. In this situation it's actually worse to boycott the Olympics because you're punishing the athletes from other countries that have absolutely nothing to do with the politics of China.

It's ignorant to punish thousands of athletes from around the world and to punish the Chinese people simply because it's more convenient that having to cut back on the consumer lifestyle possible through cheap Chinese goods. So yes, it's worse to do something than nothing in this case.

(theyarecomingforyou said @ #4.4)
So basically you're saying it's too much effort to have principles? You basically want an easy way to have a go at China without having to change your lifestyle but unfortunately the world doesn't work like that.

well if you didn't cut my my quote, I already said it would be hard for somebody to boycott China today, the whole quote is more appropriate.

(macrosslover said @ #4.7)
well if you didn't cut my my quote, I already said it would be hard for somebody to boycott China today, the whole quote is more appropriate.

So again, your point is that it's hard work to stick to your principles? Basically you'd have to make too much of a sacrifice. You may not be able to avoid every product but you can make a start... return goods made in China, buy local goods, etc. When you go to buy a TV you can find one from Japan or someone else. Including the rest of your quote had no bearing on my point... just because something is hard doesn't mean it's not worth doing. Sure you may not be able to avoid some products containing Chinese goods (maybe small washers or capacitors in an electronic device) but most devices are labelled and if not you can at least do research on your larger purchases.

So please stop pretending you have principles - you say you do but if you don't act on them then they are merely a façade. You don't have to accept "what is"; you play a part in the situation. If you object to China then boycott their goods (at least those that you are physically able to). Find others that feel the same and petition local stores to also boycott... if enough people agree then you can get somewhere. Apartheid was broken through the boycott of goods, so can other regimes. I'm sick of shallow people that pretend there's nothing they can do... people that say there's no point in voting because one vote doesn't make a difference... people that say supermarkets are too powerful to stop, yet still shop there anyway...

At the end of the day people want cheap goods and China produces them. China is a product of the western world - to think that we have no power over the situation is ludicrous.

(theyarecomingforyou said @ #4.1)
Hijacking a sporting event for political protest is simply wrong...

I agree with much of what you're saying, theyarecomingforyou, however, I wouldn't call, boycotting the Olympics as hijacking a sporting event for political reasons, any more than I would say China bidding to host the Olympics as hijacking a sporting event for political reasons (international recognition of their post 70's modernization achievements/wealth and the greater inward projection to its citizens for strengthened legitimacy and pride within the country.)
Remember, China had agreed to certain conditions when it was awarded the bid to host the Olympics: To loosen its restrictions on internet censorship (open access for journalists,) improve its human rights behavour, reduce pollution in areas affiliated with the venues, etc. In fact, one could say that those promises helped to secure the bid for them. Now you may argue that those were just that, promises and do not constitute a resolute binding contract, however, if China does not live up to the good will of its end of the bargain, and the IOC misplace their balls in a royal display of faux-apathy, then I suspect it's fair game to withhold your money and patronage from the event and it's key benefactors: China and the IOC.

(theyarecomingforyou said @ #4.6)
It's ignorant to punish thousands of athletes from around the world and to punish the Chinese people simply because it's more convenient that having to cut back on the consumer lifestyle....

One would only hope that boycotting the Olympics would not be in an attempt to punish the Chinese people. (The Chinese govt might like you to think that.) The Chinese people are much like the vast majority of other people around the world. They just want to have a good quality of life, live and grow old in peace. It's the Chinese govt that people are upset with. Chinese civilization has been around for quite a long time, the current Chinese govt's hold on power, rather, is a mere drop in the bucket when compared to the centuries of Chinese culture. And it's the Chinese govt that sets the tone in that country, sets the agenda, implements the system of cheap labor, restrictive policies on: personal liberties, information access, political diversity, open beliefs, cultural identity, and artificially low currency valuation, historical white-washing, sculpted and restricted thought, institutional corruption, please don't for a moment think that I do not attribute these characteristics to other governments around the world, and ndeed equally devastating policies do exist in different forms in other governing bodies; not just pickn on the Chinese govt's track record, however, in a system such as this, there is great opportunity for the opportunistic and entrepreneurial spirit to excel in these conditions. In playing within the rules set forth, a fair amount of wealth indeed can and has been generated; a great number more of citizens, however, are those who become the exploited. China has a population of over 1.3 billion, its middle class by Chinese standards is anywhere between 80~150 million. Punish the Chinese people? I think the government there is doing an adequate job as it is. And countries like the US and other key trading partners are allowing it to happen, even at the expense of their own citizens.

Lastly, I really do hope for the best for the Chinese people. And I hope the people have a great Olympics, and can separate the intent of games from the propaganda.

I don't get what all the fuss is about. They could use the experience; it'll be educational for them. It's not like the restrictions will be following them home.

Besides, as long as some young, blonde American female tourist goes missing at some point, and as long as they're allowed to talk about that, they'll have their 24/7 cable news material all set for them.

"They could use the experience; it'll be educational for them."

I guess your right in a sense...going to China temporally and living in 'Oppression' will give some a better appreciation for their life back home.

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