More than 30,000 foreign journalists are expected to enter China during the August 2008 Olympics Games. This presents a challenge to the CCP, known for its stringent media control. The CCP, from the central authorities to the local governments, has started to prepare for the media challenge. Below is a translation of an article from Xinahua Net (Zhejiang Channel) ) .
Promote Friendliness to the Foreign Media While Enhancing Self-Capabilities
The Jianggan District Party Committee Center organized a special seminar to enhance the strategies and skills of dealing with the media for the leading cadres. On April 16, Zhang Baogui, Deputy Director of the Provincial Party Committee Propaganda Department, lectured at a special seminar presided over by Zheng Guilan, Member and Propaganda Chief of the Center. All attendees watched the informational film, “Beware of the Political Scheme Under The Olympic Flag (The Five Interlocking Rings).”
Zhang gave an overview of three aspects: “The policy changes that relaxed restrictions on foreign media interviews, [the goal of] treating them with kindness, [and] dealing with them squarely and skillfully.” He pointed out that the new policy relaxes the requirements for foreign press-correspondents to come to China, relaxes the control of foreign reporters on their interviews and relaxes the feasibility of foreign reporters to employ local Chinese citizens. The policy also simplifies the screening procedures for foreign reporters and their equipment. These changes of the policy, allows each local government to make full use of foreign media for our own propaganda, but also subjects us to “the trouble making" of these [reporters]. Especially during the period of the Olympics Games, more than 30,000 foreign correspondents will be coming to China. Although these reporters are coming for the Olympics, we cannot exclude the possibility that some western hostile influences will be sneaking in and seizing the opportunity to link China’s social problems with the Olympics, to politicize the Olympics and to cause social unrest. Local officials should be prepared to deal with these situations.
He emphasized that local authorities should implement the policy of improving media relations while recognizing that media relations is like “a marriage of cooperation between information client and the competitor.” Second, they should also follow the news dissemination rule; namely, guarantee the authority, authenticity and effect of the information. Third, they should learn to make use of the media to direct public opinions according to information from the government. When dealing with sudden incidents, the government should act according to "The Five Rapids" and "The Five Avoiders." "The Five Rapids" are to establish a media control organization, to appoint a media spokesperson, to set up a local news center for foreign media to conduct interviews, to standardize official releases to the media and to follow the information in media and the internet rapidly. "The Five Avoiders” are to avoid passive propaganda, falling into reporter’s question traps, being angered by reporters, refusing reporter’s inquiries and getting into direct conflicts with the press.
Deputy Director Zhang’s lecture was very well received.
Participants of the seminar included the core members of the Jianggan District Committee, leaders of various units at the levels of communities, towns, news spokespersons, propaganda committee members, news liaison officers and so on. (Source: Jianggan Government Net)
 Xinhua, April 17, 2008