By Paul Kelso
A radio station banned by the Chinese authorities has filed a formal complaint with the International Olympic Committee after the Beijing organising committee (Bocog) failed to issue one of its correspondents with media accreditation.
Dhondup Gonsar, who is of Tibetan descent and broadcasts in the Tibetan language on Radio Free Asia (RFA), is yet to receive his accreditation documents despite his application being approved by the IOC.
The incident has undermined IOC claims that journalists would have freedom to report during these games. Under Beijing's Olympic contract with the IOC all accredited persons should be granted access to the country.
Bocog is responsible for producing the actual accreditation document, which doubles as a visa. Yesterday Bocog said that Gonsar's documents remained "in process" and that a decision was "pending".
IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said the matter had been "flagged" with Bocog but could not say when or if the documents would be issued.
RFA, a non profit-making organisation sponsored by the US Congress, broadcasts within China via shortwave and on the internet, though its website is usually blocked by the authorities. It is critical of the Beijing regime and those in other undemocratic Asian states.
Jill Ku Martin, chief correspondent of RFA's Mandarin service, said today she suspected her colleague had been barred because of his Tibetan nationality. "We can only speculate as to why it is happening but he is of Tibetan descent and broadcasts in the Tibetan language," she said.