Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Disappointed but not surprised

The Chinese government has said that, while journalists will have the access they need in order to do their jobs, some Internet web sites will be unaccessible during the Olympics.

Read full story from the BBC.

Though I'm not surprised by China's move to block certain web sites, I am disappointed. I can't help but wonder what the IOC was thinking when, during their discussions with China, its government started making promises the likes of which they've not kept in decades. Were IOC officials genuinely optimistic that China would adhere to the conditions set forth? Or did they expect to face this kind of bait and switch?

Either way, my mind circles back again and again to the same question: what ever possessed the IOC to bestow such an auspicious honor on a country like China? Some may argue that, while the government is guilty of countless human rights violations, the countrymen are worthy of such an honor.True. And yet the choice to hold the Olympics in China appears to being doing more harm than good to its citizens, as numerous stories eek through tight journalistic restrictions to tell how the poor and homeless are being purged from Beijing and other cities. Restrictions have become tighter, not more lenient, with regards to religious and human rights organizations. With their left hand their showing the IOC how open, lenient and accepting they've become for the sake of the Olympics. With their right they crack whips and close doors.

Did the IOC expect this? Are they feeling at all embarrassed by the Chinese government's defiant behavior? How could they have expected anything different? Will this cause them to evaluate more carefully their future choices?


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