China to Relax Foreign Newspaper Restrictions for Games

By: E&P Staff

The Chinese government has said it will supply and sell more foreign newspapers this summer for the benefit of competitors and spectators at next month’s Olympic Games.

Normally, visitors to China can only purchase a small number of foreign newspapers and Hong Kong publications. The publications are only stocked in select places, such as international airports and luxury hotels. But the state-run company that has a monopoly in printing imports says that a select list of 30 foreign publications will be sold at kiosks serving athletes and visiting journalists.

“Providing foreign newspapers and magazines during the Olympics is an international practice and also part of our commitment to the Games,” said Jiao Guoying, president of the China National Publication Import and Export Corporation, in an interview British newspaper The Telegraph.

Guoying did not say whether or not foreign newspapers and magazines would be widely circulated after the Games. Recently, the Chinese government has begun to lift its internet blocks on media Web sites, including the BBC. It is also unclear whether the Chinese authorities will continue the practice of cutting out pages containing articles on sensitive subjects, including human rights and Tibet.

The Chinese government has loosened restrictions on foreign journalists in the country as a result of its commitment to host the Games. It has, however, tightened the reins at various times, such as during the Tibet protests last March.

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