Reporters Without Borders learned today that its website (www.rsf.org), which has been blocked in China since 2003, can now be accessed at the Olympic press centre in Beijing and in other parts of the capital, and in Shanghai. The tests we conducted this morning show that access to the websites of other international human rights organisation and foreign news media has also been unblocked both inside and outside the press centre as a result of protests by foreign journalists accredited to cover the Olympics.
“This is good news, of course, but it continues to be unacceptable that the Chinese government can decide, according to its mood, which websites are censored and which are accessible,” Reporters Without Borders said. “And how long will these sites be available to the 253 million Chinese Internet users, who continue to be subject to massive online censorship?”
The press freedom organisation added: “This partial lifting of censorship shows that the Chinese government is not completely insensitive to pressure. If the entire world had been pressuring China since 2001, even before these games were assigned to Beijing, the situation might have been different today. And perhaps imprisoned journalists would have been freed before the opening ceremony.
Foreign journalists at the press centre in Beijing found late yesterday that they were able to access Amnesty International’s website. The BBC’s site, including its Chinese-language version is also accessible. But it is still impossible to access the websites of the Falun Gong spiritual movement or Tibetan organisations.
A live online news conference organised today by Students for a Free Tibet on its website was not accessible in Beijing. The independent news websites Tibet Post International and Boxun could not be accessed from within China either. A search for the keyword “Boxun” on the Chinese-language (google.cn) and English-language versions of Google within China yielded no results.
The Chinese-language version of the Reporters Without Borders website (www.rsf-chinese.org) is also still blocked, as is the website of Chinese Human Right Defenders (www.crd-net.org).
Advice for foreign journalists covering the human rights situation in China was posted on the Reporters Without Borders website on 30 July.
List of websites accessible both in and outside the Beijing press centre at 1015 GMT today:
BBC : www.bbc.co.uk
BBC chinese : www.bbc.co.uk/languages/chinese/
RSF (Chinese-language version only inside press centre) : www.rsf.org
Amnesty International : www.amnesty.org
Human rights watch : www.hrw.org
List of websites inaccessible both inside and outside press centre: