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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

China blocks access to websites over album in support of Tibet and freedom of expression

August 24, 2008

ICT Press Release
August 22, 2008

China now appears to have blocked access to a page on as
well as Apple's iTunes online store as a result of the high-profile
release of an album in solidarity with the Tibetan people and the
Dalai Lama by top musicians. 'Songs for Tibet: The Art of Peace',
which features original compositions by artists including Sting,
Moby, Dave Matthews and Alanis Morisette, was made available through
more than a hundred retailers on August 5 by the Art of Peace
Foundation, supported by the International Campaign for Tibet.
Olympics athletes were encouraged to download the tracks as a subtle
act of dissent against censorship, and in solidarity with the people
of Tibet, and more than 40 competing now in Beijing did so.

Although remains available in China, its pages for both
the 'Songs for Tibet' CD and download page were failing to load
today, returning: "The connection was reset. The connection to the
server was reset while the page was loading," the most common error
message received for blocked sites, according to a report today by
IDG News Service
The Art of Peace Foundation video to accompany the album, 'Freedom is
expression', was also not available on YouTube in China. Much of the
time YouTube is completely blocked in China although sometimes only
selective pages are blocked. The latter generally includes all Tibet
sites. Apple's Beijing-based spokeswoman Huang Yuna told AFP today
that she did not know why music fans were unable to log on. "We've
noticed the problem. It's true that users may fail to log in to
iTunes store right now," she told AFP (August 22).

Kate Saunders from the International Campaign for Tibet said:
"China's attempts to suppress all mention of an album that was made
in support of free expression are a vivid reminder of China's empty
promises of increased openness during the Beijing Olympics. It
reveals the fundamental contradictions of a government that is
seeking to represent itself as a confident 21st century emerging
super-power, but which also appears to view an album of songs
dedicated to world peace and Tibet as a threat to the state."

Beijing's actions call into question the deeper issue of what happens
to foreign companies who fail to toe the Communist Party line. Songs
for Tibet is sold through more than a hundred retailers including
Walmart, which also has substantial business interests in China.

Kate Saunders
Communications Director, ICT
Tel: +44 7947 138612
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
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