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  • » 11/15/2007, 00.00

    CHINA

    The Chinese government denies foreign journalist database



    The Minister for Foreign Affairs versus the Communications Minister, who had confirmed the database with a profile of over 30 thousand foreign journalists. Another chapter in the battle between the positive image of China ahead of the Olympics and its reality.

    Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao has denied earlier remarks by the nation's top press officer that the authorities were building a database of overseas reporters' profiles ahead of the Olympic Games.  The statement was reported by the state press agency Xinhua, to be later taken up by China Daily and People’s Daily on November 12.

    The article in question was an interview with Liu Binjie, minister of the General Administration of Press and Publication, which raised concerns over media freedom during the Olympics. In the interview, Liu Binjie said the database would cover 8,000 foreign journalists accredited to report from inside Olympic Games venues, and 20,000 others allowed to report outside the venues.

    In the traditional meeting with the press on November 13th, Liu Jianchao denied everything and said that the article was inexact: “There is no such database and I have not heard of a plan for setting up such a database … I have confirmed that it was a mistake by the reporter”. Liu, claimed the reporter had misunderstood what the official was saying. He added that the Foreign Ministry, not the press watchdog, would be responsible for foreign reporters during the Olympics.

    The news of a database of journalists had concerned International media who saw it a san attempt to limit press freedom during the Games.  According to the incriminated article the database of overseas reporters' profiles was to be used by potential interviewees.

    China is leaving no leaf unturned in its attempts to project a positive image of the nation ahead of the Olympics, but its moves are being countered by criticism and documentation regarding the pitiful state of the environments, human rights violations, corruption, etc.  In recent months the government had assured full press freedom as well as freedom of movement for foreign journalists from January to August 2008.  At the same time however, local journalists have been banned from reporting negative stories on China or the Games.

     

     

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    See also

    01/08/2008 CHINA
    Beijing, partial u-turn on internet censorship
    As of yesterday some sites are accessible. Among these the BBC, Wikipedia and Amnesty International. But the liberalisation is valid only for the Olympic village and its press centre. The foreign press association demands transparency from the International Olympics Committee, accused of connivance with Chinese censors. Hu Jintao: Do not politicise the Olympics.

    10/12/2004 PHILIPPINES – HUMAN RIGHTS
    Press freedom under siege, Filipino journalists says


    30/06/2005 CHINA
    China: Journalists sign an open letter calling for the release of two colleagues

     



    22/02/2006 CHINA
    Human rights abuse "could impede Olympic games"

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    08/08/2008 CHINA
    World leaders welcomed to Beijing. Silence on human rights and terrorist threats
    Hu Jintao greets 80 international political figures. Press and TV do not mention the threat of attacks, but residents are afraid to leave their homes. The local population is absent from celebrations. Dissidents, protestant pastor, bishops under surveillance. Jacques Rogge gives his “blessing” to Beijing’s “good” air.



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