Journalists, residents getting same Net in Beijing

Tests at the main Olympic press center and on other connections around the Chinese city show that both reporters and city dwellers are getting less restricted Internet access than usual.

Graham Webster
Formerly a journalist and consultant in Beijing, Graham Webster is a graduate student studying East Asia at Harvard University. At Sinobyte, he follows the effects of technology on Chinese politics, the environment, and global affairs. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network, and is not an employee of CNET. Disclosure.
Graham Webster

Tests at the main Olympic press center and on other connections around Beijing have shown that both journalists and regular Beijing Internet users are getting less restricted access than usual.

That's according to the OpenNet Initiative's assessment of online censorship after the first week of the Games.

After journalists spent a lot of energy complaining about their inability to reach many Web sites without the use of a proxy, the international and Beijing Olympic committees both seemed to respond, and many restrictions disappeared.

ONI notes that the bulk of the opening occurred for foreign-hosted Chinese-language Web sites, while "the majority of advocacy sites and politically 'sensitive' organizations remain blocked."

It may be nice that these sites have come available, but content is still filtered by keyword, if not encrypted during transmission, and there's no way to know whether this increased availability of Chinese Web sites will outlast the Olympic pageantry.