With the Beijing Olympics roughly four months away, Kevan Gosper, vice chairman of the IOC coordinating commission, is warning organizers that the internet must be open during the games and that restrictions "would reflect very poorly" on China. AP quotes Gosper about raising the issue during the last official organizing meeting before the Beijing Olympics: "This morning we discussed and insisted again. ... Our concern is that the press (should be) able to operate as it has at previous games. ... There was some criticism that the Internet closed down during events relating to Tibet in previous weeks." Gosper added: "I'm satisfied that the Chinese understand the need for this and they will do it."
A spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry told AP that China's management of the internet "general practice of the international community" and compared China's bans on some internet content to those of other countries. She did not promise unfettered access for journalists during the games.
Times Online: "In a sign of possible loosening of internet controls, China a few days ago lifted a block on the BBC website that had been in place for years. However, Wikipedia remained outside the firewall apparently because of its many references to such sensitive issues as the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, the Dalai Lama and Tibet. Many international blogs cannot be accessed because their host servers are blocked."
By Staci D. Kramer