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Beijing 'won't gag the press'

Mainland authorities will not seek to control or interfere with the media after the handover, a senior Chinese official said.

Press freedom was fully guaranteed under the Basic Law, said the director of the State Council's Information Office, Zeng Jianhui.

Information and propaganda offices in China and the media in Hong Kong would continue to operate separately.

'They will not be subordinate to each other and will not interfere with each other,' said the official.

'The mainland authorities will not use the media measures adopted in the country to manage the press in Hong Kong.' But he also warned the Hong Kong press to observe the rules and regulations when covering news in the mainland.

'Mainland journalists will have to observe the Basic Law and Hong Kong laws while reporting in Hong Kong. Hong Kong journalists should also abide by mainland regulations while covering news in the mainland.' He said irresponsible or false news reports should be condemned, and censuring such reports should not be seen as gagging the press.