Changing China

Giant on the move

Dos and don’ts of reporting

July 9, 2008

mpc2.jpgFirst the Chinese authorities provided foreigners with a list of dos and don’ts for when they visit the games. Now Human Rights Watch has got into the act, providing foreign journalists with its own booklet giving advice on how to report out of China.

The Reporters’ Guide gives useful information on what do if police detain you (don’t hit them), what to do if your reporting rights are not respected (complain) and what to do to prevent anyone snooping on your stories or emails (one suggestion — use gmail and add an ‘s’ at the end of http in the URL).

When China was awarded the Games it promised media the same freedom to report as they had enjoyed at previous Olympics. Perhaps Beijing thought only statistics-obsessed sports hacks would turn up, but if so they are likely to be disappointed with journalists from around the world preparing to descend on China in the coming weeks, many of them planning to follow everything but the athletes.

Human Rights Watch believes the “freedom to report” message has not filtered down to zealous secumpc.jpgrity staff, who are unused to the nosey habits of foreign media. To help convince local officialdom that visitors can indeed talk to just about anyone they want to during the games, the booklet even prints out in Chinese the temporary regulations that give the 21,600 accredited reporters the right to rove.

That said, the main message for visitors is not to get the locals into trouble and even recommends that correspondents change the names of any Chinese dissidents they might interview to prevent unwelcome attention from the police once the media circus has moved on.

Media at a Yao Ming press conference in Beijing“One thing is certain, all the foreigners will be able to leave China after the games, but the locals who help them won’t be able to go anywhere,” said Human Rights Watch media director, Minky Worden.

The HRW booklet can be downloaded on its website

 Pix from top: Journalists and visitors stand outside the Beijing Olympics Main Press Centre (MPC) during its opening in Beijing July 8, 2008. The building, including the International Broadcast Centre, on the Olympic Green will house the 21,600 media accredited to the Games with up to 10,000 more unaccredited reporters being catered for at the Beijing International Media Centre. A journalist works at the Main Press Workroom of Beijing Olympics Main Press Centre (MPC) during its opening in Beijing July 8, 2008. (Snaps by Claro Cortes IV). Picture of media at a Yao Ming news conference in Beijing on June 26 by David Gray.


It is in the hands of journalists and reporters with ethics and conscience to make strong comments and report with integrity in regards to chinas abysmal human rights record and their horrific torture of animals whether as food entertainment or fur
You as jpurnalists have the unique opportunity to credibly make a difference
please foreswear the transitory glamour of the moment and take a good hard look and voice with serious social intent the truth behind the faux glamour the worlds eyes will be on bejing. it is up to you journalists with ethics and clear social conscience to help those that suffer in china whether they are companion aniamls such as dogs or ctas being mutilated live or humans


China’s abysmal record on human and animal rights is such a disgrace that I can not imagine how they were awarded the Games in the first place -in my mind the Olympic Games has now been devalued and reduced to a commercial enterprise.
The fact that China has ordered that dogmeat be removed from restaurants for the duration,shows that they are well aware of the repugnance and abhorrence the rest of the world has for this disgusting practice – let alone the brutal methods employed in killing these unfortunate creatures.
I second the comments of the previous poster – it would be excellent to see journalism with the integrity and courage to shine a light on the dark and despicable practices of China.


You guys just don’t understand. You are brainwashed as well, by your Media. Want to know the truth? want to help those who are now suffering in China? Come to China. See what the situation’s really like.

I know you would think me as xenophobic, and that’s just another proof for your prejudiced brains.

Posted by naomizheng | Report as abusive

Wow?You didn’t show my last entry! This is so cool!

Posted by naomizheng | Report as abusive

One thing’s for sure, western media never report anything good about China.

We really have much tolerance and patience. We can’t be more kind to you. Think of what you’ve done to us, what you’ve reported for the torch relay, for the unrest in Tibet, for the Games, for what China’s done for the economy and social life in the 30 years. You said any thing good? NO! What you’ve been always interested in are always those boring and same old idiotic words like ‘communists’ ‘human rights’ ‘dalai’, come to China and see what’s what and stop those stupid reports!

Posted by Yuan | Report as abusive

sophia – here is your mission to China:

Find all the dirts you can! Seriously, do you know where to look? Otherwise what would you expect journalist to do? If people like you need to back up your claims with journalist reports then you will be extinct by now.

Posted by rex | Report as abusive

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