Foreign journalists still unhappy with reporting restrictions
With less than a month until the Beijing Olympics begin, foreign correspondents in the capital are still dissatisfied with the extent to which the central government has realised its commitment to 'free and full access to the media'.
Jon Watts, president of the Foreign Correspondents Club of China, said: 'There is still not complete access for foreign journalists.
'What we have at the moment in the system of rules is an improvement of that of two years ago, but it is temporary, and the implementation is patchy,' said Mr Watts, the Beijing correspondent for British newspaper The Guardian.
The FCCC has documented 260 cases of interference with foreign reporters since the new rules were introduced, and the complaints relate to many parts of the mainland, including Tibet and some earthquake-hit areas.
Last week, politburo member in charge of the media Li Changchun again promised the media could report everything during the Games, but foreign journalists were still not sure how free they could be in their reporting in times of an emergency.
'The problem seems that there was a step forward at the top level, but at lower levels, in particular, many local officials still have a way of thinking of interrupting journalists from doing the stories they don't like,' Mr Watts said.
'We hope the government will be serious about the openness by making a promise the improvements could be permanent, not just a temporary show for the Olympics.'