Special report: 2008 Olympic
by Liu Gang, Meng Na and Huo Xiaoguang
BEIJING, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- In recent days, some foreign journalists kept
questioning organizers of the Beijing Olympics why a few websites, such as those
preaching Falungong, cannot be opened here.
In their view, the fact that certain websites cannot be accessed means that the Chinese government has broken its promise
of allowing foreign journalists free use of the Internet during the Beijing Games
and thus has violated "press freedom."
Sun Weide, a media official with the Beijing Organizing Committee of the 29th Olympic Games (BOCOG), invites reporters to raise questions during a press conference at the Main Press Center in Beijing, China, Aug. 1, 2008. (Xinhua/Zou Zheng)
At various press conferences, Sun Weide, the Games' spokesman, patiently
explained the government stance and repeatedly expressed the hope that the
journalists could respect China's laws and regulations.
"During the Beijing Olympics, China will provide sufficient convenience for
foreign journalists to access to the Internet. The channel is smooth for foreign
journalists in Beijing to report the Games and report China using the Internet,"
"If a few websites are difficult to browse, it's mainly because they have
spread content that is banned by the Chinese laws," he said.
Journalistic freedom, at any time, is a relative but not absolute
conception. Even for the media in the United States, contempt of court and
violation of citizen's privacy are banned by laws.
The reporters' freedom to interview people is one important content of
press freedom. Every overseas journalist without prejudices will agree that as a
result of China's three-decade-long reform and opening-up, journalistic practice
in the country has become increasingly unfettered, and overseas journalists are
provided with more convenience and service while doing reports in China.
In a bid to host a high-standard Olympic Games with distinctive features,
and to further promote the Olympic spirit and help the world better understand
China, the Chinese government has adopted and implemented a series of new laws
and regulations, such as the "Regulations on Reporting Activities in China by
Foreign Journalists during the Beijing Olympic Games and the Preparatory
To facilitate foreign media's reporting activities in China, the Beijing
Organizing Committee of the 29th Olympic Games (BOCOG) and relevant government
departments have provided a variety of services for the foreign media, such as
satellite news gathering equipment, filming access to the Tian'anmen Square, and
simplified customs clearing procedures for news gathering equipment.
The BOCOG also applies a "zero refusal policy" for interview requests,
which means all requests for interviews will be answered and properly arranged.
As long as the involved units and individuals agree in advance, the overseas
media will have no restrictions to conduct the interview.
The openness to media complies with both international conventions and the
Chinese laws. Just like other countries, China regulates the Internet according
The Chinese laws forbid anyone to spread illegal information, such as
preaching an evil cult like the Falungong, or do anything that harms national
interests through the Internet.
Like what Sun Weide, the spokesman, said, the channel is smooth for foreign
journalists in Beijing to report the Games and report China using the Internet.
Ju-Nie Shen Muller, sports editor of the World Journal, the largest Chinese
language newspaper in North America, said that she found the Olympic Internet
service "speedy and stable."
"My articles can be sent back to editing office very smoothly, and I can go
every website I must go, to find the information I need in my reporting from the
Internet," she said.
China now has the world largest Internet using population with as many as
253 million netizens. Surfing the Internet has become an important part of the
Chinese people's daily life. All facts prove that China's laws and regulations
on Internet regulation fit its national conditions.
Thanks to the reform and opening-up drive, China has achieved tremendous
progress not only in economic development, but also in legal system
Earlier, some overseas media alleged that the Beijing Olympic Village
banned the use of Bible. However, anyone who has common sense about the Chinese
laws shall know that in China the freedom of religious belief is protected by
law, and therefore it is both illegal and impossible for this so-called "ban" to
Similarly, anyone who has some knowledge abut the Chinese laws will
understand China's stand on the evil cults.
As the countdown to the Beijing Games enters the final days, China as the
host country has come under the international spotlight. In fact, the country is
trying its best to fulfill its promises to both the International Olympic
Committee and the international community. However, the seriousness of the law
shall by no means be allowed to be undermined by anyone on any excuses.