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Government must challenge Games web censorship

31 July 2008

Clark and Cosgrove must challenge Games web censorship

Green Party MP Keith Locke is asking the Government and New Zealand Olympic officials to challenge Beijing's censorship of websites available to those visiting the Games.

"Our officials can't stay silent while China blatantly goes back on its pledge to allow those reporting the games free access to the internet," Mr Locke, the Party's Sports Spokesperson, says.

"It makes a mockery of China's pledge that the Games would lead to an improvement in that country's human rights.

"We already know that repression of dissidents has gotten worse, not better. On August 4 one of the most prominent critics of the government, Ni Yulan, will appear in court for defending the rights of displaced people in Beijing, and Tibetan monks are facing a new crackdown.

"The Chinese regime will have been handed a big PR victory if delegations attending the games meekly accept government censorship of their web access.

"Already foreign reporters are restricted as to where they can travel in China, contrary to assurances given by the Chinese government before the Olympics. Without access to Amnesty International and similar websites their reporting on human rights issues will be seriously compromised.

"The initial response of the International Olympic Committee has been disappointing.

"I have written to the Prime Minister Helen Clark and Sports Minister Clayton Cosgrove to ask them to speak out on this matter.

"The Australian team chief John Coates has already spoken out on the issue. Now is the time for our chef de mission Dave Currie to show what he is made of."


ENDS

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