New regulations for foreign media may be prolonged

Updated: 2006-12-28 15:29

Cai Wu, minister of the State Council Information Office, speaks at a press conference in Beijing December 28, 2006. Cai talked about the construction of the spokesman system and efforts in building transparent government. He also answered questions from reporters at the conference. [ciic]

China's top publicity official Cai Wu hinted Thursday that new regulations granting foreign journalists more freedom to report in China -- which go into effect next week -- may be prolonged after the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

China on December 1 issued a set of regulations granting foreign journalists more freedom to report in China in the run-up to and during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

The regulations will come into force on January 1, 2007, and expire on October 17, 2008.

Answering a question raised by an Icelandic reporter, Cai said "If the new regulations prove beneficial to our development and to exchanges between us and foreign media, and if they aid communication with the international community, then I imagine there will be no need to change the policy".

But he pointed out these were his personal views and not a formal announcement.

Cai said that the new regulations contained several changes from the Regulations on the Supervision of Foreign Journalists and Resident Foreign News Organs issued in 1990.

"Many changes have taken place in China and in the world since the 1990s regulations were issued, we needed to bring the regulations up to date," he said, pointing out that "the Olympic Games provided us with a good opportunity to adjust the regulations."

There are currently 606 resident journalists from 319 foreign news organizations of 49 countries working in China. About 3,000 to 5,000 foreign journalists visit China each year.

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