The revelation that China has reneged on its promise to allow journalists covering the Olympics unfettered Internet access has provoked a firestorm of protest around the world. But the move should take no one by surprise.
Any casual China watcher understands that media control stands at the heart of the governments' grip on power. The real surprise is that anyone believed that China would honor this commitment at the end of the day. It now appears that at least the International Olympics Committee never really did. The IOC approved this deal with a wink and a nod and then stood by impotently as an unrepentant China boldly engaged in a masterful slight of hand a week before the Games, replacing the Olympic village with a Potemkin Village, complete with fake Internet access and a press corp, herded into a censored corral.