Journalists are none too happy about the working the conditions at the Main Press Center. The internet is slow, they complain, and sites are being censored. This after officials promised open access to the internet for the Olympics. One of the sites being blocked is Amnesty International after the human rights group released a critical report on China.
I can only imagine what the MPC is like right now — literally. I’ve decided to set up shop at my hutong guest house 20 minutes away from the Olympic area. After two days of trekking to my designated Olympic work area and dealing with a slow internet connection, I’m spending today in the hostel’s computer lounge. The connection has been faster and more reliable.
Moreover, I can connect to any Web site I want, including www.amnesty.org. Of course, it’s most likely because I have a personal VPN. Journalists who live in China also use proxies to get their way around China’s Great Firewall. Both were recommended by Human Rights Watch for journalists covering the Olympics.
It’s a little ironic that I have a better work station in the middle of a gritty, rundown hutong than at the sleek, pristine MPC.
My two cents on the situation: Journalists are a surly (and demanding) bunch, especially sports journalists (I should know). China should just open the gates of the Great Firewall for the next month to avoid any more grousing and controversy.