Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

30 July 2008

IOC caves in to China's demands on internet censorship

IOC caves in to China's demands on internet censorship
The International Olympic Committee has said that there won't be uncensored internet access at Olympic media venues.

In a statement Kevin Gosper, International Olympic Committee (IOC) press commission chair, said: “I regret that it now appears BOCOG has announced that there will be limitations on website access during Games time (…). I also now understand that some IOC officials negotiated with the Chinese that some sensitive sites would be blocked on the basis they were not considered Games related.”

In reaction to the IOC statement, Mark Allison, East Asia researcher for Amnesty International said: "The International Olympic Committee and the Organizing Committee of the Beijing Olympic Games should fulfil their commitment to ‘full media freedom" and provide immediate uncensored internet access at Olympic media venues. Censorship of the internet at the Games is compromising fundamental human rights and betraying the Olympic values.

Foreign journalists working from the Olympics press centre in Beijing are unable to access the Amnesty International website. A number of other websites are also reported to have been blocked.

The IOC has on many occasions highlighted the loosening of restrictions on foreign media in China as an example of the promised improvement in human rights by the Chinese authorities through the hosting of the Olympics. On 1 April, Kevin Gosper said that the continued blocking of some websites would "reflect very poorly" on the hosts. On 17 July Jacques Rogge, IOC President, said "there will be no censorship of the internet."

"This blatant media censorship adds one more broken promise that undermines the claim that the Games would help improve human rights in China," said Mark Allison.

On Monday 29 July, Amnesty International published the report "Olympic Countdown: Broken Promises" which evaluates the performance of the Chinese authorities in four areas related to the core values of the Olympics: persecution of human rights activists, detention without trial, censorship and the death penalty. They all relate to the 'core values' of 'human dignity' and 'respect for universal fundamental ethical principles' in the Olympic Charter. The new report showed there has been little progress towards fulfilling the Chinese authorities' promise to improve human rights, but rather continued deterioration in key areas.

Have your say on censorship and other human rights issues in China on Amnesty International's The China Debate website.

Read More

Official website of the Olympic Movement
(Amnesty International is not responsible for the content of external websites)

Country

China 

Region

Asia And The Pacific 

Issue

Freedom Of Expression 

@amnestyonline on twitter

News

18 September 2014

Nigeria’s police and military routinely torture women, men, and children – some as young as 12 – using a wide range of methods including beatings, shootings and rape... Read more »

19 September 2014

The Guatemalan government is fuelling the fires of conflict by failing to consult local communities before awarding mining licences to companies.

Read more »
19 September 2014

A Thai court’s decision to uphold a 10-year prison sentence given to an editor and social activist for allegedly insulting the royal family continues the relentless erosion of... Read more »

19 September 2014

Ireland’s latest guidelines on abortion are mere window-dressing that will confuse health professionals and endanger women’s lives and rights.

Read more »
19 September 2014

The Egyptian authorities are putting at risk the life of a jailed activist, whose health has sharply deteriorated after more than 230 days on hunger strike, by denying him... Read more »