The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.
Elie Wiesel

When I was maybe 11 or 12, I read about Ray Kroc’s founding of McDonalds. Whatever I read made Kroc out to be some sort of saint and even sought to explain away his initial unwillingess to hire African-Americans as not having arisen out of any racism on his part, but out of his realization that the American public was not ready to have Blacks serving them food. I thought Kroc was horrible for taking this position and even worse for trying to spin it. I saw (and still do) Kroc as worse than the racist who would not hire African-Americans at all; Kroc knew his position was morally indefensible, but rather than make an effort to educate or inculcate or use his position for change, he let it all just slide.
Stories out today on how the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is admitting it agreed to a censorship deal with China. Shameful.
For more on this, check out the following:
China & IOC lied – Internet access for media to be censored for Olympics” at Americablog.com
If You Are Surprised By This, Raise Your Hand So I Can Laugh” at Signal To Noise.
China backtracks core Olympic promise” at Vox Populi
Surprisingly, All The Porn Comes In Fine [Beijing Olympics]” at Ennvy.

  • jg

    Of the last five links you have posted above referring to the blocks, three of them are blocked here in Tianjin. None of this is a surprise except to those who are unfamiliar with both China and the helplessness of the IOC to hold them to their Olympic promises. I expect the full story and the greater wrath will be be held in check until after the Olympics and everyone gets back home. Too much is at stake to raise the issue too loudly in the press, since complainers my have their physical access restricted during events if they are deemed to be troublemakers. And the IOC? Well, don’t get me started.

  • Hunxuer

    The IOC and the olympic games have become irrelevant in this day and age. They are morally bankrupt and are rotten to the core corrupt.
    They need to be boycotted by decent nations all over. Let China bask in the games. Let the IOC leaders cozy up to the TianAnMen thugs and other despots such as Mugabe and they can have an All Totalitarian Games next in Yangon.
    The IOC needs to move their HQ to Harare or Beijing soon.
    Be done with it and let the rest of us watch something like the World Cup or X-Games.

  • James G

    Good post and good links. I wonder about the wisdom of blocking certain websites from reporters who can easily access them through secondary/side means. It almost seems as if they want to bait the reporters into being snarky and sharply critical of the BJ government.
    This pretty much guarantees some very negative reporting on Beijing, which leads to the CCP complaining of people “politicizing” the games (and their need for security) and ensures that the Chinese populace sees the foreign media once again raining on their parade.
    It looks really messed up from a western viewpoint, but it may just lead to the laobaixing rallying round the flag against the outraged criticism to come.

  • A lot of these articles regarding Internet access came out on July 29. On the morning of July 30, for the very first time since I’ve been in China, I could not access my company’s website in the U.S. Many other websites I could normally access were likewise inaccessible.
    The lesson I take from China on this is that the Western media needs to exercise more self-censorship in relation to China, otherwise China will ratchet up the Net Nanny filtering, let the 50 cent dogs loose, etc., in tit-for-tat response.

  • kim

    Which promise will go next, perhaps this one:
    “By allowing Beijing to host the Games you will help in the development of human rights,” said by Liu Jingmin, vice-president of the Beijing Olympic Bid Committee, in 2001.
    Or, this one, from Wang Wei, the Beijing organising commitee’s vice president, from July 2001:
    “We will give the media complete freedom to report when they come to China.”
    Well neither is looking too likely.

  • Luddy

    Suppose that China had granted to the foreign press unfettered access to the entire internet. What earthly difference would that have made to them (they have such access every day from their offices overseas) or to anyone living in China (they never had such unfettered access and still will not)? I’m mystified.

  • JL

    The IOC are a pack of clowns.
    It’s a self contradictory position to crow about all the great, positive effects that the Olympics have supposedly had on China
    and then to say, at the mention of anything negative, that “The IOC is not a political body—the IOC is a sports body”, and that people shouldn’t politicize the games.
    They should take a position and stick to it; either “we don’t care what the government of the host country does” or “we’ll do our utmost to ensure that host governments have good human rights records”. Flitting between these positions makes them look like idiots.
    (from http://www.wikio.com/world/international_organizations/international_olympic_committee/jacques_rogge?sort=1
    “We have obtained the new foreign media law. It is not perfect, we agree. We are pressing the Chinese to implement it as best as possible. This is a revolution, this is something that I believe will also leave a lasting legacy in China,” he said.
    Rogge also named stricter laws in connection with child labour, compensation for locals whose houses fell victim to Olympic construction, and improved environmental laws.
    “I believe the Games will definitely bring something to China, and definitely an openness to the country which is unprecedented.
    “In one or two years after the Games you can see what influence they had. I think the Chinese will know much more about the world than they know today and the world much more about China. I believe that will be a positive effect,” the IOC president said.

  • As I said on my blog, the IOC has shown itself to be the Groucho Marx of sports; prepared to change their principles if the host nation doesn’t like those principles. Just be grateful the Games aren’t being held in Rangoon.

  • Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

    It strikes me that the reporters are too busy complaining about their lack of access to web-sites to see the opportunity they have to step into the shoes of a person living in China (that is, a person living in China who can afford a nice hotel room, a personal computer and Internet access). The questions are (1) what web-sites are restricted?, and (2) how would the lives of the people of China be better if they had access to these web-sites? Are they missing anything important?
    The reporters need to be able to provide examples of how having access to particular restricted information would make a difference in the well-being and livelihood of people.
    If the problem is that people in China cannot access certain information that paints a negative picture of China, why do they need access to this information? And why now?
    I was in China at the beginning of July and the national pride of the people was incredible and inspiring. It was like looking at a butterfly through the eyes of a child – I do not normally see a sporting event as an opportunity and many people I met were looking forward to the world coming to China. The hospitality was something I do not see when a sporting event occurs in Canada (other than a Stanley Cup playoff match). I would not want to take that away from any person in China right now.
    Maybe after the Olympics are over, there may be a story about something important that the people of China missed. We will have to wait and see.