China issues news regs ahead of Olympics

Rules will restrict freelancers, fixers

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HONG KONG -- A new set of governmental regulations introduced ahead of the Olympic Games is designed to restrict Chinese "fixers" working for overseas news agencies and force them to register with the authorities, Reporters Without Borders said Tuesday.

The undated set of rules introduced by China International Enterprises Co-operation Corp. Human Resources and Consulting Department (CIECCO), specify that foreign media organizations must submit written applications and identity documents of the staff member responsible for hiring when they wish to employ Chinese citizens. Appropriate candidates will then be selected and nominated by the CIECCO.

Should the news organization wish to propose their own candidate, they must provide an ID, a curriculum vita, evidence of no criminal record, a physical examination record and an employment confirmation letter.

The rules also applies to Hong Kong and Taiwan media organizations.

For foreign journalists arriving before the start of the Olympics to obtain a visa, the visa division of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad will require detailed coverage plans to be submitted as well as a letter from an employer, which Reporters Without Borders said will serve to exclude freelancers.

The government has declined to explain the new policies, which Reporters Without Borders considers a measure to hinder demonstrations during the games.
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