Toothless IOC Allow Chinese Censorship

“It is truly sad to see the IOC fail in this regard.” The reaction of Vincent Brossell of Reporters without Frontiers to the news that China has failed to honour a promise it made seven years ago to allow uncensored access to the internet for journalists at the Olympics.

The news that human rights sites, including Amnesty, and any url’s with Tibet in them are restricted is not surprising. The news that the IOC should hide behinds it tired old “sport not politics” mantra even less so.

But this is a direct contradiction of a promise made when the games were awarded to the Chinese and the IOC seems powerless to do anything about it. Further evidence perhaps that the IOC has made one of the biggest mistakes in its inglorious history by going to Beijing.

Expect more stories like this. And more like the one about Liu Shaokun, a teacher who published pictures of the schools that collapsed during the recent earthquake. At the time Chinese officials promised an investigation into why the schools collapsed so readily. Now they are silencing their critics: Liu Shaokun has been sentenced to a years “reeducation through labour.” No trial, no right of appeal.

It’s going to be tricky for the IOC to come out of Beijing without blood on its hands. And it’s difficult to see how the flame that symbolises a “celebration of humanity” will be anything but a smouldering wreck by the time it reaches London.

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