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'We promised free Internet, except...'

August 12, 2008

Reporters continue to find political websites blocked despite IOC's efforts
ALLEN PANZERI
Canwest News Service
The Gazette (Montreal)
August 10, 2008

BEIJING - Reporters are still chafing over the issue of blocked
websites, only two weeks after Beijing and the International Olympic
Committee went toe-to-toe over the issue and the Chinese seemed to back off.

Plenty of websites are still blocked, such as Amnesty International,
Free Tibet, and a YouTube video showing the 1989 protest and
aftermath at Tiananmen Square.

Wang Wei, executive vice-president of the Olympic organizing
committee, acknowledged that Beijing continued to block sites.

"We promised to provide free Internet except for a few sites (that)
would jeopardize our national security or are not good for the
healthy growth of our young people," he said.

"I think in any other countries, there are some kinds of limitations.
I think we are going to provide sufficient access for the media to
cover the Games from the aspect of the country as well." IOC
spokesperson Giselle Davies said organizers continue to talk with
Beijing about the issue.

"Our perspective is very much that you would have fully accessible
Internet to do the job, as we stated on a number of occasions," she
said. "As was said previously, there has been ongoing work between
the organizers to enable what you have to do the work you need to do
to cover the Olympic Games." From Wang's response, it didn't sound as
if the IOC was going to win.

"The access and judgment are made by the authorities." Wang said. "I
think we have the reasons to decide which (sites) are good and not
good for the young people to see. I think that is also normal to any
country." Sprinter gets boot: Greek sprinter Tassos Gousis was kicked
off his country's team yesterday after failing a doping test in
Greece a few days before the Games.

The 29-year-old, who competes in the 200 metres, tested positive for
the steroid methyltrienolone.

He was sent home from a pre-Games training camp in Japan after being
informed of the result.

Because it was not an IOC test, it will not count against the total
of cheats caught at these Games.

Google this: When the Google site was called up on opening day, the
Fuwa mascots and Five Rings of the Olympics popped up in the Google
logo. With the IOC's tight control over its marketing rights, is that
a problem? It might be, Davies said.

"As you probably fully aware, it is a tradition for Google to have a
home page reflecting the major events the world is watching
globally," she said.

"So that is a natural editorial association which has been made,
which in the majority of the countries poses no problem.

"There may be one issue in one country, which we are looking at, here in China.

"But otherwise, this is reflecting the fact that the world is
watching China and these are the things everyone is talking about at
the Olympic Games here in Beijing." Czech kicks things off: The first
medal of the XXIX Olympic Summer Games was awarded yesterday to Czech
shooter Katerina Emmons.

The first-place finish in the women's 10-metre air rifle competition
disappointed the audience as 2004 Olympic gold medallist Du Li of
China finished fifth.

Lioubov Galkina of Russia won the silver medal and Snjezana Pejcic of
Croatia took bronze.

Emmons, 24, who took the bronze in Athens in 2004, finished with
503.5 points to break Li's Olympic record of 502 points set four years ago.

Allen Panzeri is in Beijing as part of the Canwest News Service Olympic Team
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