China's decision to reverse a pledge on allowing unfettered web access proved an embarrassment for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which had repeatedly said foreign press would not face any Internet curbs in Beijing.
It was also the latest in a long line of issues to have tarnished the run-up to the Olympics, which start on August 8, following controversies over pollution, human rights and terrorism threats.
Beijing Olympic organising committee spokesman Sun Weide triggered the latest public relations flare-up when he confirmed foreign reporters would not have access to some sites deemed sensitive by China's communist rulers.
"During the Olympic Games we will provide sufficient access to the Internet for reporters," Sun said.
However "sufficient access" falls short of the complete Internet freedoms for foreign reporters that China had promised in the run-up to the Games.