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China won't back down on Internet censorship

Latest update : 2008-08-07

China said it would not back down on Internet censorship during the Olympic Games, insisting that the banned sites are in violation of Chinese law. The international community has sharply criticised the move.

  
China said Thursday it would not back down on Internet censorship for the Olympics, insisting banned sites were in breach of Chinese laws.
  
"A small number of Internet sites are blocked, mainly because they violate Chinese law," Beijing Olympic organising committee spokesman Sun Weide said when asked whether curbs for the foreign press would be lifted.
  
"We hope that foreign media will respect Chinese law in this matter."
   
"During the Olympic Games we will provide sufficient access to the Internet for reporters," said Sun Weide, spokesman for the organising committee.
   
He confirmed, however, that journalists would not be able to access information or websites connected to the Falungong spiritual movement which is banned in China.
   
Other sites were also unavailable to journalists, he said, without specifying which ones.
   
Journalists working at the main press centre for the Olympics also complained that they were unable to access Internet sites belonging to rights group Amnesty International, the BBC, Germany's Deutsche Welle, Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily, and Taiwan newspaper Liberty Times.
   
"Our promise was that journalists would be able to use the Internet for their work during the Olympic Games," said Sun.
   
"So we have given them sufficient access to do that."
   
However, in the runup to the Games the Beijing Olympic organising committee, under pressure from the International Olympic Committee, has promised full access to the Internet for thousands of reporters expected here to cover the August 8-24 Games.
   
Falungong is a spiritual group banned by China as an "evil cult," and many of its members have been detained, amid claims that hundreds have died in custody due to torture, abuse and neglect.

Date created : 2008-07-31

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