Overseas media will enjoy greater access to cover the upcoming 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) as well as more convenient media services.
New services include more group interviews for overseas reporters apart from the three open press conferences during the session.
Overseas media can apply through the official website www.cpcnews.cn for interview requests, said Cong Wu, an official with the media center, which officially opened yesterday morning in the Media Center Hotel in central Beijing.
More delegations will also throw their door open this year for media coverage, said Zhu Shoucheng, deputy director of the center.
Fifteen of the 38 delegations were open to interviews during the 16th National Congress of the CPC in 2002.
Overseas photographers who previously had to zoom in from a long distance will be allowed closer contact with Party leaders and delegates - a privilege previously given only to a few Chinese media - an official surnamed Li with the media center told China Daily yesterday.
A Swedish journalist reports from an Olympic venue in Beijing on October 11, 2007.
The center, decorated in auspicious red and with Chinese knots, also offers beverages, Internet access and free photo, radio and TV transmission, said Zhu.
A total of 1,033 overseas reporters from 258 media organizations in 42 countries and regions, including 342 from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, have signed up at the center, Zhu said.
The number of overseas reporters registered for the 16th Party congress was 859.
Economic and social development has overtaken Party personnel changes as the main focus for overseas reporters.
"Economic and political development and the Olympic Games are all inter-related. I want to cover as many topics as possible in addition to the congress," said Olga Tanasiichuk with the National News Agency of Ukraine, who got her press card yesterday from the center.
Tanasiichuk, who also covered the 16th Party congress, said that she was not overly interested in personnel changes as "unlike in other countries, leadership changes do not mean a change in policy direction".
Michael Bristow, a BBC reporter based in Beijing, said that apart from personnel changes, he is also interested in the scientific concept of development and building a harmonious society.
Cao Jingxing, a leading commentator with Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV, said his group will focus on the new guidelines on cross-Straits issues and the Party's solutions to emerging social problems.
(China Daily October 9, 2007)