China Lowers Internet Firewall

Beijing allows access to certain sites to appease Olympics
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2008 8:22 PM CDT
A foreign journalist uses Internet services provided at the Main Press Center at the Olympic Green in Beijing, Tuesday, July 29, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Facing pressure from the Olympics, Beijing lowered its so-called Great Firewall today to allow access to some news and human rights websites, Time reports. But other sites—like those supporting Tibetan independence or the outlawed spiritual group Falun Gong—remain off-limits in China. And "everyone knows that the minute the circus is over, the walls will be put straight up again," one Chinese scholar said.

The International Olympic Committee was facing pressure to negotiate with China. Despite Beijing's promise to open its society with the Olympics, China had recently tightened "its crackdown on human rights defenders," Amnesty International said. And reporters covering the games have protested Internet censorship. But Beijing denied any problem today, saying that reporting "through the Internet is unhindered."