We issued the following statement today after news reports from Beijing announced that China has decided to extend the relaxation of rules governing foreign journalists. The rules had been eased in January 2007, as part of China’s pledge to allow reporters unrestricted coverage of the Olympic Games.
“The reports that China has agreed to extend the temporary regulations allowing foreign reporters to travel freely in China and openly interview Chinese citizens is good news. The problem lies now with their implementation,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “China has already violated the new travel guidelines in Tibet and in Sichuan, and has stifled foreign reporters trying to cover the ongoing public health scandal of tainted milk products. And it is common practice for security personnel to question people who are seen talking with foreign reporters.”
“We also believe these guidelines should be extended to Chinese journalists,” Simon added.
CPJ reported earlier today that two filmmakers were arrested seven months ago in Tibet in western China after taping interviews with Tibetan residents about their lives under Chinese government rule.