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Accredited journalists can report in China

Updated: 2006-11-16 15:21

A Beijing Olympics official said Wednesday that accredited foreign journalists will be allowed to report from other parts of China during the 2008 Games, amid concerns about press restrictions.

Media groups have voiced concern that Beijing won't allow unfettered access for journalists during the event.

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However, asked by a reporter if foreign journalists accredited to cover the 2008 Games can venture outside of Beijing to investigate other issues, Wang Wei, executive vice president of the event's organizing committee said, "They can. It won't be a problem, as along the subjects agree to be interviewed."

Wang was speaking after a briefing on the 2008 Games at a business forum in Hong Kong.

Wang also said investigation into possible corruption by former Beijing Deputy Mayor Liu Zhihua, who oversaw billions of dollars of Olympic-related construction, is ongoing and reiterated earlier official statements that the scandal did not involve Olympic projects.

On two lingering issues for event organizers, traffic and pollution, Wang said, "some new measures may be launched," citing Beijing Mayor Wang Qishan, but declined to give details.

As car ownership soars, the city of more than 15 million residents is regularly smothered by traffic emissions and haze.

Beijing has promised to try to enforce tough emissions standards for cars, move polluting industries out of the city and reduce reliance on coal in favor of natural gas.

Olympic planners say they are also stepping up subway and airport construction ahead of the games and will encourage the use of public transportation instead of private cars during the competition.

Wang Wei also said games organizers have started planning for the Olympic torch relay and that the flame will reach Mount Everest for the first time.