China asks foreign media to follow rules ahead of `protests`
Overseas dissidents called for Egyptian style protests against Chinese govt.
Beijing: Amid calls by overseas dissident groups to launch Egyptian style protests against the Chinese government, police in China have cautioned Foreign Journalists by politely reminding them the rules guiding media coverage in the country, specially relating to interviews of local people.
An official from the Public Security Bureau (PSB) informed that Foreign Correspondents should strictly follow the guidelines.
No interviews should be carried out without permission.
He was unclear whether permission should be taken from the authorities or the individuals to be interviewed by the Correspondents.
Asked whether there was any curb to travel to Wangfujing where the overseas dissident group website Buxon.Com asked people to launch strolling protests or close by Tiananmen Square, which witnessed heavy protests in 1989, the PSB official said Foreign Correspondents can travel anywhere but should follow the rules.
According to an advisory put out by the Foreign Correspondents Club of China, (FCCC), a professional association of Beijing based foreign journalists, a number of "correspondents received phone calls from public security officers yesterday warning them to "obey reporting rules" in China, perhaps indicating there may be tighter-than-usual reporting conditions this weekend in Beijing".
This followed heavy presence of foreign journalists near the Macdonald outlet at Wangfujing at Beijing and a square at Shanghai last Sunday to cover the protests.
Those present included American Ambassador Jon Huntsman along with his Chinese and Indian adopted daughters.
American officials here subsequently clarified that Huntsman, who has recently resigned to contest for Republican nomination for next US Presidential polls was there accidentally.
His name was subsequently blocked by Chinese censors on the Internet.
A video posted on some websites also showed Huntsman, a fluent Mandarin speaker talking to an unidentified person.
The Buxon website stated to be run by overseas Chinese dissident groups has called for "strolling" protests in many Chinese cities this year Sunday also.
Some reports said the group had called for protests in Lhasa, capital of Tibetan province and Urmuqi, the provincial capital of Muslim Uyghur majority Xinjiang province, both of which witnessed riots in the recent years.
China appeared to be edgy after its jailed dissident, Liu Xiaobo was awarded Nobel Peace prize.
Besides blocking his wife from attending the ceremony to receive the prize, she was kept under house arrest.
Ever since the protest in Tunisia, known as Jasmine Revolution broke out and gathered steam, spreading to Egypt, Libya and various Gulf counties, China blocked references to the news on the Chinese internet blogs, while covering the same in its English media.
Two days ago, Chen Jiping, deputy secretary-general of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), accused the "western forces" of fomenting trouble by calling for Jasmine Revolution in China opposing the one party rule of the CPC.
"Some hostile Western forces always intentionally stage various incidents to interfere in our domestic affairs under the banner of safeguarding rights," Chen said conceding that it was turning out to be a prominent problem being faced by China on international stage.