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China's openness to foreign media would remain after Games
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18:47, July 30, 2008

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China will remain open to foreign media after the Olympic Games, the country's press authority said on Wednesday.

Liu Binjie, minister of the General Administration of Press and Publication, said openness to the foreign media is a long-term policy rather than a makeshift "puff of wind."

"China's open door to the foreign media will not close after the Games," he told Xinhua.

"We regard the May 12 earthquake and the Olympic Games press coverage as an 'important test' of the media operation system reforms and will explore building a more open and transparent media system after the Games."

The government issued a series of regulations at the end of 2006, stipulating that foreign journalists could conduct interviews in China as long as they had consent from the interviewees.

However, some feared that the open door would be shut after the Games, since these regulations expire in October.

"We are mapping out a new regulation, that we are confident will make China's media still more open and transparent," he said, without giving further details.

Liu said media openness and transparency was in line with China's interests.

"With the country's media coverage of emergencies becoming more timely, rumors are losing ground," he noted. "The timely and transparent coverage of May 12 earthquake functioned as a bridge, showing the world a real and open China."

Some critics have said that since thousands of domestic and foreign journalists are expected to flood into the country during the Games, the government would be extremely nervous about possible negative reports.

"We always welcome goodwill and constructive criticism," Liu said. "We are confident of being challenged by journalists after 30 years of reform and opening-up."

In response to some Western human rights organizations' claims that to interview in China is dangerous, Liu said they are defaming the country "with stereotypes constructed from hearsay and prejudice in their mind, regardless of the reality.

"They are blind to China's democratic progress and efforts in enhancing media transparency over the past few years," he said. "Foreign journalists in China will see the real situation with their own eyes."


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