Human Rights in China (HRIC) welcomes the Chinese government's decision to make permanent the temporary media regulations that have provided greater freedom for foreign journalists reporting in China since January 2007. HRIC urges the Chinese government, having delivered on its earlier assurances to the international community, to also extend these freedoms to domestic journalists.
"The Chinese government should answer the calls of its own people," said Sharon Hom, executive director of Human Rights in China. "It should respect its own constitution which guarantees press freedom, a right that many Chinese journalists and writers have paid—and are paying—a great price to exercise."
The recent public health disaster resulting from tainted milk power is a devastating example of the consequence of suppressing press freedom. The authorities caused many more deaths by forbidding reporting of the story in July because they wanted to preserve a "harmonious" atmosphere for the Olympic Games.
HRIC further urges the central government to address the continuing violations of these media regulations, and take steps to insure their full implementation on the provincial and local levels.