- The Washington Times - Monday, August 4, 2008

China apparently is highly sensitive about Tibet, where protests in the spring led to state-induced death.

So the Chinese government has taken to blocking access to certain Internet sites deemed at odds with the glory and promise of the impending Beijing Games.

This goes against China’s promise to the IOC seven years ago to play nice with the rest of the world.

Not that anyone is surprised. Forget it, Jake. It’s China.

The higher-ups of the IOC are placated by their imitation Rolexes, fancy hotel suites and all the complimentary General Tso’s chicken they can eat. They should have held out for the Peking duck.

The world is expressing outrage over China’s censorship on the Internet, as if huffing and puffing ever resolved anything. Besides, being denied access to Tibet on the Internet is hardly as bad as brushing your teeth with China’s toxic toothpaste.

China goes by standards different from the Western world, as we know all too well.

It sends lots of junk to the U.S., whose citizens give the Communist government a free pass with their wallets, and toys with lead paint be darned.

At least we talk a good game when not obsessed with China’s goods.

We are about to be subjected to an onslaught of all things China, courtesy in part of NBC, which no doubt has uncovered any Chinese athlete who has overcome three recent deaths in the family, a potentially fatal disease and political oppression to compete in the Beijing Games.

The opening ceremonies commence Friday; 16 days of Olympic action ensue, all of it set to be captured by NBC’s cameras. It comes out to 3,600 hours of coverage, which means no pingpong return will go unnoticed.

Steven Spielberg was one of the artistic visionaries of the opening ceremonies until he decided China was part of the human-rights problem in Darfur, Sudan. His parting was perhaps aided by Darfur specialist Mia Farrow, stepmother of Soon-Yi, who ran off with her ex-squeeze, Woody Allen.

It is not going to go down well, these Beijing Games. The outrage is merely beginning.

One or two intrepid sorts with the Western media could attempt to resolve the mystery of the “Tank Man” of Tiananmen Square. The famous protester stood defiantly in front of a tank in 1989 and is presumed dead from a bullet to the head from the state that bills the family for the cost of the bullet.

China won the right to host the games with a wink and a nod. No telling what it awarded IOC voters on the sly. The games could end up being incidental to China’s Big Brother, especially if it blocks Internet access to Richard Gere, one of the Dalai Lama’s good buddies.

China’s instinctive urge to control information could lead to all kinds of conflicts, given the number of reporters likely to step out of the sports box. China’s government officials should know that Western reporters could find fault with the color of a striptease artist’s G-string.

Bad news sells, and China is poised to be the jackpot in this regard, at least until the last medal is handed out.

Sun Weide, a spokesman with the organizing committee, says journalists will have unfettered access to the Internet, except to those sites considered subversive or dangerous to the government. That could end up including ESPN.com if one of its reporters does a favorable piece on the Falun Gong spiritual movement, considered a cult in China and adored in the U.S. as a symbol of China’s heavy-handedness.

It also could be against the law to note that Beijing’s air is among the most polluted in the world, and that is even with the government having imposed odd-even license plate restrictions to reduce daily traffic since July 20.

If you are keeping score at home, China already is up 1-0 in the gold-medal count, easily topping its rivals in the blocking competition.

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