Apparently Arianna Huffington doesn’t translate into Chinese. With five days to go until the start of the Beijing 2008 Games HuffPo is reporting that the website remains off limits to Internet users in China. Both the Chinese government and the IOC came under heavy fire last week when it was reported that despite emphatic promises over the years, the Government had taken moves to censor access to the Internet. In the wake of the criticism the government relented and has unblocked Amnesty International, BBC China and Deutsche Welle.
This morning on Today Matt Lauer, who is broadcasting from Beiijing, said that thus far (today is their first day) NBC has encountered no difficulties, he pointed out, however, that it remains to be seen what will happen if something unexpected, such as a protest, arises. The Chinese government, meanwhile, is doing its best to keep exactly that from happening; the Times says that an “almost smothering blanket of security” has been thrown across the country. One wonders, however, if with all this security and micromanagement of press access if the Government hasn’t just created a perfect scenario for disaster, wherein any dissent, however small, results in the sort of violent clampdown that will immediately trump the Games to become the major story.