In a new report, however, Human Rights Watch (HRW) says China continues to severely breach that pledge, harassing and restricting foreign journalists in Tibet and elsewhere.
"Correspondents face severe difficulties in accessing forbidden zones, geographical areas and topics which the Chinese government considers sensitive and thus off-limits to foreign media," says the report, titled "China's Forbidden Zones: Shutting the Media Out of Tibet and Other 'Sensitive' Stories."
The report cites extensive examples of Chinese media abuses and restrictions, including a media ban during the Tibet riots in March. It also slams the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for not doing more to ensure China lives up to its media and human rights pledges.
HRW is urging the IOC to establish a 24-hour hotline in Beijing for reporters during the Games to report media violations.
Phelim Kine, an Asia researcher with HRW, writes in "The Wall Street Journal's" Asia edition that in future the IOC should incorporate a permanent human rights mechanism into the selection process for Olympic host cities