China: foreign journalists to get benefits during 2008 Olympics

The proposed regulations are meant to "provide convenience to the foreign journalists for their coverage of the Games," Liu Qi said during a meeting of broadcasters. A text of his remarks was distributed to delegates.

Liu, who also is chairman of the city's Olympic organizing committee, did not say whether or not journalists would be able to travel freely in China or be allowed to interview anyone they wanted.

There is concern that China, which strictly controls the foreign press and frequently bans domestic press from reporting sensitive social and political stories, will not respect press freedom during the games.

Liu said the proposed regulation will allow foreign journalists who are accredited to cover the Olympics to enter the country multiple times without applying for a visa, the AP reports.

Foreign journalists will also be exempt from paying import tax on equipment and will be allowed to temporarily bring in cars and obtain temporary driver's licenses.

Journalists who are interested in covering cultural relics can apply through the Beijing Olympic organizing committee, who will obtain the relevant permission from the State Administration of Cultural Relics, Liu said.