Daily Archives: August 1, 2008

China relaxes internet bans for journos – 2008 Beijing Olympic Games – ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

As the news reader said: “What a difference a day makes!” China relaxes internet bans for journos and three hours later Beijing lifts some internet restrictions: IOC.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Chinese organisers have agreed to lift all internet restrictions for the Beijing Games, IOC vice-president Gunilla Lindberg says.

“The issue has been solved,” Ms Lindberg said.

“The IOC Coordination Commission and the Beijing Olympics Organising Committee (BOCOG) met last night and agreed.

“Internet use will be just like in any Olympics.”

ABC journalists in Beijing said they could access internet content about Tiananmen Square and other previously banned websites.

But it was not immediately clear if the restrictions had been lifted outside hubs for foreign media.

That last point remains to be seen. I notice in the flag collection in the side bar that one Chinese user has been to this blog, and that was on 27 July.

Still, the response is at least something, isn’t it. One thing for sure is that China really does want to mount a good Olympics. Here’s just one place I’ll be keeping tabs on:


See also China blocks internet access for foreign media and Chinese authorities’ broken promises threaten Olympic legacy | Amnesty International.


Posted by on August 1, 2008 in Chinese and China, media watch, Olympics 2008


Kevin Rudd’s convict past

I was pleased to read that Kevin Rudd, like this blogger, is descended from felons. It is a very Australian story, after all; shades of Great Expectations and all that. And so apparently is John Howard, according to that same article:

Mr Rudd is not the first Australian politician to boast a convict past. Former prime minister John Howard, who was unseated by Mr Rudd last year, has convict forebears on his mothers’ and fathers’ sides, including a maternal second great-grandfather who was convicted of complicity in the theft of a tortoiseshell watch.

I am attaching a fascinating document sent to me by John Van Luyn, who has been taking an interest in the Whitfield family history. John wrote:

Came across this paper today from the Irish National Archives. It gives a very good insight into the horrible times during transportation. Very interestingly there is a reference for transportation for life where a convict was sentenced to transportation for life for arson.

Our ancestor was a “lifer”.

On Irish Convicts (PDF)


Posted by on August 1, 2008 in Australia, History, John Howard, Kevin Rudd


Money and Trees – the green stuff | Q&A | ABC TV

Money and Trees – the green stuff | Q&A | ABC TV gives more details on who was on last night’s program. Tim Wilson is the guy from the dreaded IPA. In an article in The Oz last year (7 March 2007) — it is on his site if you are patient enough to find it as he has no search facility there — he said: Debate on gay marriage has been suffocated by a failing to consider why government is regulating marriage in the first place. And that is the thought he developed last night.

You see, the argument runs that marriage is actually no business of the government. All the government has to do is register all kinds of unions in a non-discriminatory way. If churches wish to define marriage as a sacrament — and that doesn’t apply to Protestants, incidentally, for whom the only sacraments are baptism and holy communion — then so be it, but people would choose — as they do anyway — a church wedding or not. Nothing to do with government. It also follows that any church that decided gay marriage was consistent with its reading of Christianity — as increasingly some churches are doing, controversial as that might be — then they were free to do so, and people were free to have such a ceremony if they wished.

That’s not a million miles from the position put by Justice Michael Kirby in a talk I heard at ACON some years ago.

It is certainly worth thinking about. Perhaps it cuts the Gordian knot?

Never thought I’d commend an IPA type though…

Mind you, I didn’t like what he had to say on the night’s main topic.