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China to ban German newspapers from Olympic Village

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China to ban German newspapers from Olympic Village
Performers in front of Beijing's National Stadium. Photo: DPA
11:53 CEST+02:00
As part of their attempt to keep a stranglehold on information during the Summer Games in Beijing, the Chinese authorities are reportedly planning to ban German newspapers from the Deutsches Haus in the Olympic Village.

The German Olympic Association (DOSB) said on Friday that it was negotiating with Chinese officials over the matter. “The talks are continuing,” DOSB spokesman Gerd Graus told German news agency DDP in Beijing.

Gaus said he was optimistic that German athletes would have access to German newspapers with only one day of delay during the Olymplics.

DDP reported on Thursday that the Norbert Lammert, president of the German Bundestag, had written to the DOSB to express his “disbelief” that China would attempt to censor information in the German facilities.

“That Chinese censors would try to control the flow of information for German participants and their guests is completely inacceptable for me,” Lammert wrote in a letter made available to DDP.

The Association of German Newspaper Publishers (VDZ) also lambasted the Chinese authorities, calling upon the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to put pressure on Beijing to lift its censorship restrictions on German papers.

“This is a blatant breach of the principle of freedom of press and is in clear violation of the assurances made by the International Olympic Committee ahead of the event,” said VDZ official Wolfgang Fürstner in Berlin on Friday.

Fürstner also criticized the recent censoring of internet sites in the Olympic press centre. “TV, radio and print journalists must have the ability to work on site without restrictions,” he said.

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