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Inside the Athletes Village Internet Cafe


The Athletes Village, offering censorship and inflatable pandas.

During my trip to the Athletes Village, I stopped in at the village's Internet Cafe to see exactly what sites were and were not being censored.

WashingtonPost.com:
Ok.

Free Tibet: Not Ok.

Deadspin: Ok.

With Leather: Ok.

(And with top-notch reporting on Olympic condoms, to boot.)

Amnesty International: Ok.

Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy: Not Ok.

The Big Lead: Ok.

Team Darfur: Ok.

PETA: Ok.

Journalists for Human Rights: Ok.

Tibet Online: Not Ok.

Human Rights Watch: Ok.

Wikipedia page on Human Rights in China: Ok.

Various sexy sites: My computer stopped working before I could figure that one out.


Panda mascot bobblehead.

Elsewhere in the International Zone of the Athletes Village, one can find the Chinese Traditional Arts & Crafts Show, the Florist, the Pin Trading Center, the Chinese Learning Area, the Newsstand, the Chinese Tea House, the Beijing 2008 Venue Store, the Toilet, the Photo Store, the Environmental Information Center and the Hair Salon, where I saw two USA softball coaches considering a trim.

"I'm scared," strength and conditioning coach Brandon Marcello said.

"Go for it Brandon," assistant coach John Rittman said. "We've got a half-hour."

Brandon eventually went for it, while I posed with the giant inflatable Olympic mascots, seen above. I also bought a Jingjing the Panda mascot bobblehead. Not to mix the serious with the trivial here. For the record, I've never been in such close proximity to actual government censorship before. I didn't like it too much. Makes you feel a little bit funny when you then hear the Mayor on Duty of the Village tell you that the Olympics bring "understanding and friendship" and "peace and solidarity" to the world.


All the athletes' dorms are festooned with colorful flags. No media allowed! Bad photos permitted.

By Dan Steinberg  |  August 7, 2008; 5:29 PM ET
Categories:  Olympics  
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Next: Beltway Traffic and Spanish Language Reporters

Comments

So in terms of photo posting and censorship, the Olympic Village ranks above Redskins Park, but below RFK when holding gourds and basketballs.

Posted by: Kim | August 7, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

I am most interested in these feelings inspired by infringements on your rights--the subtle sense you get that you're not in any nation containing Kansas anymore.

Oh, and what? No stinky tofu yet? C'mon, guy, take that cheese tour!

Posted by: Bobbie | August 7, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

What do you see on the screen when you navigate to a censored site? Is it "The connection has broken because of the falsehoods this site contains regarding the glorious nation of China and its smiling, productive citizens," or what?

I wish I could check whether my website is censored. Maybe I should post content that would get it censored, and then I could make a big Olympics-related stink. The change in editorial direction would be a bit surprising, but it's not like I have the trust of my readers or anything.

Posted by: Lindemann | August 7, 2008 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Hey, maybe with one of those Olympic condoms, I’d be able to experience a better climax…in my voice (of course)…when singing the National Anthem….freaks lol!

I heart pandas -

Posted by: Bridge | August 7, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse

I was in Beijing about two years ago, and at the time you couldn't access wikipedia at all. And there was no message about "this page does not meet the glorious standards of our wonderful country" - there was just a "Page could not be found" error, so that you never knew if a site was having server trouble or if it was censored.

Posted by: slack13 | August 8, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

You didn't test out KSK?

Bastard.

Posted by: Unsilent Majority | August 8, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

The blogosphere is atwitter at what Steinberg's go-to "sexy sites" are.

Posted by: Apollo Ohno | August 8, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Oh. my. God. If there is any chance in the UNIVERSE that you, up there, above me, are the REAL Apollo Ohno, I am absolutely hyperventilating. You (the REAL Apollo Ohno) are my REAL (cyber-fantasy-we-all-can-dream) athlete-boyfriend, and now our texting paths have crossed for REAL (maybe; we-all-can-dream), right? *SIGH*

Posted by: Bobbie | August 8, 2008 10:02 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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