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Foreign Reporters in China Face Official Interference


Foreign journalists in China say they continue to face official interference, despite new rules relaxing media restrictions ahead of the Summer Olympics.

The Beijing-based Foreign Correspondents Club of China Tuesday said it had recorded more than 180 incidents of interference, including beatings and intimidation, in 2007.

The group noted that officials continue to obstruct foreign reporting in China's minority-dominated Western regions of Tibet and Xinjiang.

But the group also said new rules introduced by Chinese authorities generally have improved reporting conditions for foreign journalists.

The rules introduced at the beginning of 2007 were intended to allow foreign reporters to conduct interviews with Chinese people rather than having to seek government permission first.

A senior Chinese government official said last week that the rules might be extended beyond the 2008 Games, rather than expiring in October as scheduled.

The Chinese government continues stringent control over domestic media, with restrictions limiting discussion on democracy, religious freedom, or any material Beijing considers subversive.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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