The World Association of Newspapers is continuing its major campaign calling on the Chinese government to honour the promises of reform it made when it was awarded the just completed Olympic Games. Now that the Games are complete, and the world's attention is elsewhere, it is more important than ever to draw attention to the complete lack of press freedom in the world's most populous country.
The campaign calls for the release of all imprisoned Chinese journalists and cyber reporters.
The Organising Committee for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games issued a "Beijing Olympic Action Plan" in 2002, laying out a series of promises as part of Beijing's preparation to be the host city. The pledge included: "In the preparation for the Games, we will be open in every aspect to the rest of the country and the whole world. We will draw on the successful experience of others and follow international standards and criteria.
China failed to honour its commitments; in fact, the Chinese government increased its repression of free expression and press freedom, and continues to imprison and harass those who dare speak openly.
Over 30 journalists and more than 50 cyber reporters are imprisoned in China, and the country's media are under total control of the authorities.
The Olympics may be over, but China should still be held to its promises. The authorities must allow for freedom of expression both among journalists and ordinary citizens.