As China steps into 2007 ahead of the US, several news articles came out this past week in reference to the new regulations for foreign journalists reporting before and during the Beijing Olympics that take into effect on January 1st. The first piece of news came and gone quietly this past Wednesday with a similar set of regulations for Taiwan journalists. Those rules do not look much different from the ones issued for foreign journalists. But the significant part of the news is that China claimed to be much more opened about having Taiwan journalists stationed in China while only three mainland news organizations are allowed to station in Taiwan since April 2005. I think this is best to be verified by journalists from both sides. Even if China allows any foreign journalists to station there, there is always the risk of getting arrested and even sentenced to prison when the authorities feel that a journalist’s research is going over the invisible boundary of “state secrets.” The case of Ching Cheong is a prime example of this problem.

Three days after issuing the new regulations for Taiwan journalists, the same happened for the folks in Hong Kong and Macao. Again, this is nothing more than substituting the appropriate nationality to bring out another set of rules. The more widely noted news is the one about the possibility of the new regulations to remain effective long after the Olympics. This was expressed as a personal opinion of publicity official Cai Wu so it is not a definite change in policy.

Even with all the journalists and human rights activists arrested and imprisoned in China this past year, I would like to keep a positive outlook for the new year as my favorite quote says:

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

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