The foreign press has been called by Hu Jintao (photo), China’s president, to abide by Chinese laws, after a breach of security by a South Korean journalist, who managed to tape rehearsals of the opening ceremony this week.
On Friday, just a week before the opening of the Olympic games, Mr Jintao said that “China’s door will always be open, during and after the Olympics. We welcome foreign journalists and will facilitate them in the future”.
But he added, at a rare press conference with foreign journalists in the capital, that “all foreign journalists should abide by Chinese rules and regulations, and be fair in their reporting on China, so we can have good communications with the rest of the world”.
He also said that attempts to politicise the games over disputes on a wide range of issues would not work and were contrary to the Olympic spirit.
Although differences of opinions were “inevitable” among people from different coutries and regions, China’s president added : “I don’t think politicising the Olympic games will do any good to address these issues.”
“It runs counter to the Olympic spirit and also to the shared aspirations of the people of the world.”
China and the International Olympic Committee have been criticised on Thursday by governments and media groups, about web censorship for foreign reporters during the games. In response, some banned sited, including Amnesty International, have been unblocked.
There also are complaints concerning China’s human rights record, and pollution and air quality, which threaten to tarnish an Olympics that the government hopes will showcase China in a positive light.
On Friday, a high-speed train service has been launched by China, projecting that positive image. Travel time between Beijing and Tianjin, venue for the Olympics football matches, is sliced off almost one hour.
The new passenger service is said to be the world’s fastest boasting the largest state-of-the-art railway station in Asia. People will be shuttles to the Olympics co-hosting city within 30 minutes at a top speed of 350kph, in special sleek coaches with interiors that look more like aircraft cabins.