James Forsyth

China is gaming the Olympic system

China is gaming the Olympic system
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The Washington Post has an important story this morning about how China is failing to live up to the promises it made on press freedom when it was awarded the Olympic games.

“Wang Wei, executive vice president of the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee, told reporters in 2001 that the news media would have "complete freedom to report on anything when they come to China." 

Wen Jiabao, the Chinese premier, last year signed temporary regulations to allow foreign journalists to travel domestically without advance permission until the Games are over. Reporters would still need permits to travel to Tibet, officials said, although that was not specifically mentioned in the regulations. 

But recently foreign journalists have been detained while reporting sensitive stories and escorted by police out of several provinces that border Tibet, which is closed to foreign journalists and tourists. Chinese officials say foreign journalists are being excluded from the areas for their safety. Meanwhile, government spokesmen have accused international news media of biased reporting and some foreign journalists have received death threats.”  The Chinese are also not meeting the commitments they made on air pollution. Indeed, the air quality in Beijing during the Olympic period was actually worse in 2006 and 2007 than in 2000 and 2001.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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