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  • China’s Reporting Rules

    (This English translation is courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and is for reference only. The original Chinese text can be found here.
    More official information on the legal environment for foreign correspondents can be found in the ministry’s Guide for Foreign Journalists in China.)

    October 17, 2008

    Regulations of the People’s Republic of China Concerning Reporting Activities of Permanent Offices of Foreign Media Organizations and Foreign Journalists

    Article 1. The present regulations are formulated for the purpose of facilitating reporting activities of permanent offices of foreign media organizations and foreign journalists in the People’s Republic of China carried out in accordance with the laws of China and promoting international exchanges and the dissemination of information.

    Article 2. Permanent offices of foreign media organizations mentioned in the regulations refer to branch offices established in China by foreign media organizations for news coverage and reporting.
    Foreign journalists mentioned in the regulations include resident foreign journalists and foreign reporters for short-term news coverage. Resident foreign journalists refer to career journalists dispatched by foreign media organizations to be stationed in China for than six months for news coverage and reporting. Foreign reporters for short-term news coverage refer to career journalists who come to China and stay for no more than six months for news coverage and reporting.

    Article 3. China adopts a basic state policy of opening up to the outside world, protects the lawful rights and interests of permanent offices of foreign media organizations and foreign journalists in accordance with law, and facilitates their news coverage and reporting activities that are carried out according to law.

    Article 4. Permanent offices of foreign media organizations and foreign journalists shall abide by the laws, regulations and rules of China, observe the journalism ethics, conduct reporting activities objectively and impartially, and shall not engage in activities which are incompatible with the nature of the organizations or the capacity of the journalists.

    Article 5. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China (hereinafter referred to as the Foreign Ministry) is the competent authority in charge of affairs concerning permanent offices of foreign media organizations and foreign journalists in China. The State Council Information Office and other government departments are in charge of relative affairs concerning permanent offices of foreign media organizations and foreign journalists within their respective responsibilities.

    Foreign Affairs Offices of local people’s governments, commissioned by the Foreign Ministry, deal with affairs concerning permanent offices of foreign media organizations and foreign journalists within their respective administrative areas. Information offices of local people’s governments and other departments are in charge of relative affairs within their respective administrative areas concerning permanent offices of foreign media organizations and foreign journalists within their respective responsibilities.

    Article 6. Foreign media organizations wishing to establish permanent offices or send resident journalists to China need to seek approval of the Foreign Ministry.

    Article 7. Foreign media organizations wishing to establish permanent offices in China shall submit the following documents to the Foreign Ministry directly or through a Chinese diplomatic mission abroad:

    1. Written application signed by the head of the headquarter;
    2. Introduction of the media organization concerned;
    3. Introduction of the head of the permanent office to be established, journalists and other staff members to be dispatched to China;
    4. A copy of the registration certificate of the said media organization issued by its home country.

    Article 8. Upon approval of the application to establish permanent office in China, head of the permanent office to be set up shall, within 7 working days of his/her arrival in China, register with the Foreign Ministry upon presentation of his/her passport to obtain the Certificate for Permanent Office of Foreign Media Organization in China; head of a permanent office of a foreign media organization to reside in a place other than Beijing shall, within 7 working days of his/her arrival in China, register with relevant foreign affairs offices of the local people’s governments commissioned by the Foreign Ministry upon presentation of his/her passport to obtain the Certificate for Permanent Office of Foreign Media Organization.

    Article 9. Foreign media organizations wishing to send resident journalists to China shall submit the following documents to the Foreign Ministry directly or through a Chinese diplomatic mission abroad:

    1. Written application signed by the head of the headquarter;
    2. Introduction of the journalist to be sent;
    3. A copy of the career journalist certificate of the said journalist in his/her home country.

    In case of one resident journalist to be sent by two or more foreign media organizations, these agencies shall submit separate applications according to the provisions of the preceding paragraph and note in their respective applications other foreign media organizations represented concurrently by the said journalist.

    Article 10. Upon approval of the application, foreign journalists to be sent to China shall, within 7 working days of their arrival in China, register with the Foreign Ministry upon presentation of the passport to obtain the Press Card (R); foreign journalists to reside in places other than Beijing shall, within 7 working days of their arrival in China, register with relevant foreign affairs offices of local people’s governments commissioned by the Foreign Ministry upon presentation of the passport to obtain the Press Card (R).
    Upon obtaining the Press Card (R), foreign journalists shall register with the public security authorities of their residence place to obtain a residence permit.

    Article 11. The permanent office of a foreign media organization shall submit a written application to the Foreign Ministry for change of its name, place of residence and other relevant matters. Upon approval, the said foreign media organization can go through the necessary procedures for the change accordingly.
    The permanent office of a foreign media organization shall notify the Foreign Ministry in written form of replacement of its head, change of office address and other relevant matters within 7 working days. Foreign media organizations based in a place other than Beijing shall, within 7 days of the replacement, notify the relevant foreign affairs offices of the local people’s governments commissioned by the Foreign Ministry in written form of replacement of its head, change of office address and other relevant matters.

    Article 12. Resident foreign journalists shall submit an application to the Foreign Ministry or relevant foreign affairs offices of the local people’s governments commissioned by the Foreign Ministry for renewal of their Press Card (R) before it expires. Any delay in application will be automatically deemed as waivering his/her status as resident foreign journalist and the Press Card (R) will be cancelled accordingly.

    Article 13. The permanent office of a foreign media organization deciding to terminate its operation in China shall notify the Foreign Ministry 30 days prior to the termination, and have its Certificate for Permanent Office of Foreign Media Organization in China and the Press Card (R) of its resident journalists cancelled at the Foreign Ministry or relevant foreign affairs offices of the local people’s governments commissioned by the Foreign Ministry within 7 working days upon the termination of its business.

    The permanent office of a foreign media organization will be deemed to automatically terminate its reporting activities in case no resident journalists are sent for more than 10 months consecutively, and the Certificate for Permanent Office of Foreign Media Organization in China will be cancelled accordingly.

    The Press Card (R) will be cancelled should a resident foreign journalist reside in China for less than 6 months per year on an accumulative basis. The permanent office of a foreign media organization shall, before the departure of its resident journalists, have their Press Card (R) cancelled at the Foreign Ministry or the relevant foreign affairs offices of the local people’s governments commissioned by the Foreign Ministry.

    Article 14. The cancellation of the Certificate for Permanent Office of Foreign Media Organization or the Press Card (R) shall be notified to the public.
    The Journalist Visa of the journalist whose Press Card (R) is cancelled will expire automatically 10 days after the cancellation.
    The journalist whose Press Card (R) is cancelled shall, within 10 days of cancellation, bring the relevant certificate to local public security authorities to apply for change or visa of resident permit.

    Article 15. Resident foreign journalists or foreign reporters coming to China for short-term news coverage shall file applications for journalist visa with a Chinese diplomatic mission abroad or visa agencies authorized by the Foreign Ministry.

    Article 16. For foreign journalists wishing to come to China to cover a visit by the head of state, head of government, head of the legislative body, members of the royal family or senior government officials of their home country, the Foreign Ministry or relevant department of the country concerned shall apply on their behalf to Chinese diplomatic missions abroad or visa agencies authorized by the Foreign Ministry for journalist visas.

    Article 17. Foreign journalists wishing to interview organizations or individuals in China need to obtain their prior consent.
    Foreign journalists shall carry and present their Press Card (R) or Journalist Visas for Short Visit during reporting activities.

    Article 18. Permanent offices of foreign media organizations and foreign journalists may, through organizations providing services to foreign nationals, hire Chinese citizens to do auxiliary work. Organizations providing services to foreign nationals are designated by the Foreign Ministry or foreign affairs offices of the local people’s governments commissioned by the Foreign Ministry.

    Article 19. For reporting needs, foreign journalists may, on a temporary basis, bring in, install and use radio communication equipment after completing application procedures for approval in accordance with law.

    Article 20. In case foreign nationals shall engage in news reporting activities in China without holding valid Press Card (R) or Journalist Visas for Short Visit, the public security authorities may order them to stop reporting activities and deal with related matters according to law.

    Article 21. In case of violation of the present regulations by permanent offices of foreign media organizations or foreign journalists in China, the Foreign Ministry may issue them warning, suspend or stop their reporting activities, and in serious cases, revoke their Certificates for Permanent Office of Foreign Media Organizations, Press Card (R) or Journalist Visas.

    Article 22. The permanent offices of foreign media organizations or foreign journalists that violate other laws, regulations and rules of China shall be dealt with according to law. In serious cases, the Foreign Ministry shall revoke their Certificates for Permanent Office of Foreign Media Organizations, Press Card (R) or Journalist Visas.

    Article 23. These regulations shall come into force as of 17 October 2008. The Regulations Concerning Foreign Journalists and Permanent Offices of Foreign News Agencies promulgated by the State Council on 19 January 1990 shall expire as of the same date.