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Beijing promises unfettered Internet access during Olympics

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Chinese officials will allow foreign journalists to view websites that the government previously had censored at the Beijing Games press center.

The decision came after the International Olympic Committee pressured the host country to make good on its promise of unblocked Internet access for foreign reporters.

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Reporters working in the Beijing Games’ main media center have been unable to access websites operated by such organizations as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the BBC’s Chinese service.

Reuters reports that each of the censored websites was available Friday morning at the Beijing press center.

Beijing Games organizers earlier this week said that they had blocked Internet access to sites that “propagated information” banned under Chinese law. The censorship occurred even though the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games told the IOC that reporters would enjoy unfettered access.

“We asked them to address the issues we were worried about,” IOC spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau told Reuters during a telephone interview on Friday. “That’s good news.”

Beijing Olympic organizing committee spokesman Sun Weide declined to comment.

Chinese officials acted just a day after Kevan Gosper, head of the IOC’s press commission, alleged that the IOC had struck what he described as an unsavory deal with BOCOG.

-- Greg Johnson

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