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China Refuses to Open Web for Olympics

China Refuses to Open Web for Olympics

Speaking at a news conference as the Olympic flame was being taken to the top of Mt. Everest, Chinese Technology Minister Wan Gang refused to guarantee China will lift the veil of state-run Internet censorship for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. According to Reuters, China will guarantee sites will not be blocked "as much as possible" over the Olympics, but that "unhealthy" sites would be blocked to protect China’s youth.

China’s state-run Internet censorship operation is the largest in the world, and routinely blocks access to Web sites and content the government finds objectionable, including information about democracy, the Falun Gong movement, and recent protests in Tibet. China has also imprisoned journalists and bloggers critical of the Chinese government and its policies. Wan Gang also reportedly claimed "Every country limits access to some Web sites."

Beijing’s host contract for the 2008 Olympic Games stipulates unrestricted Internet access, and the International Olympic Committee has been firm with the Chinese that it expects Internet access will be unrestricted during the duration of the games. China is touting a high-speed wireless broadband network that has been set up for the use of journalists and others covering the games.

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