China's President Hu Jintao has said Beijing will honor its Olympic
commitments but that the Games should not be politicized. His comments
came as the government removed blocks on some websites. Daniel Schearf
reports from Beijing.
The Chinese president met with more than 20 select foreign journalists Friday, exactly one week before the
Olympic Games open in Beijing.
Mr. Hu responded to critics who
say Beijing has failed to live up to human rights and press freedom
promises it made when selected to host the Summer Olympics.
officials had said hosting the Olympics would improve China's human
rights situation and that journalists coming to cover the Games would
have the same freedoms given by past Olympic hosts.
human rights and free press advocates say Chinese authorities have
continued to silence dissidents and harass journalists.
Mr. Hu repeated the government line that the Olympics should not be politicized.
says it is only inevitable that people from different countries and
regions may not see eye to eye on some issues. He says they should
discuss such things on an equal footing to narrow differences and expand common ground on the basis of mutual respect.
The rare question and answer session was carefully stage-managed with reporters having to submit their questions in advance.
this week foreign reporters at the Olympic Media Center complained
certain web sites were still blocked despite promises of "unfettered"
access during the Games.
The International Olympic Committee
press chief Kevan Gosper had said they made a deal with Chinese
officials that the internet would continue to be censored during the
On Friday he backtracked, saying it was a
misunderstanding, that no deal was made, and that the Beijing Olympic
Organizing Committee has agreed to unblock some websites.
put a team together in the IOC working with BOCOG to commence
unblocking sites that we believe were unreasonably blocked," said
Gosper. "They include sites like BBC China, Deutsche Welle, Amnesty
Foreign media and human rights websites
previously blocked, but accessible Friday, included the Voice of
America's Chinese version and Reporters Without Borders.