Monday, September 22, 2008

China to set up Shenzhou-7 media center to overseas journalists

Journalists from abroad who hope to cover the launch of China's third manned spacecraft, Shenzhou-7,are welcome to a new purposed-built media center in Beijing which will go into operation on Thursday.

It is the first time China opens its usually mysterious space mission to foreign media. Some overseas news organizations have been invited to the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern Gansu Province to cover the mission.

The media center is open to all foreign journalists stationed in China and those working in China temporarily. The former need to show the media pass issued by the Foreign Ministry and the latter should have the J-2 visa issued by Chinese embassies in foreign countries.

Journalists from Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, who are stationed in the mainland, are required to show the media pass issued by relevant mainland authorities. And those from Taiwan are also required to show the media pass issued by the mainland authorities.

The center at the Media Center hotel provides free TV and radio signals, free broadband Internet access and free reference materials

Experts on space technology will be available to comment on the operation of the spacecraft, sources with the media center said.

The center has set up reception hotlines: 86-10-68521600 for foreign journalists and 86-10-68521800 for journalists from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

The Shenzhou-7 spacecraft is scheduled for launch sometime between Sept. 25 and 30 after the vessel, its Long-March II-F carrier rocket and the escape tower were vertically transferred to the launch pad on Saturday.

A panel of six Chinese taikonauts , including three selected crew and three substitutes, have arrived at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu. One of the taikonauts will conduct a space walk during the mission.

To fulfil its promise to host an open and high-standard Olympic Games, the Chinese government adopted a series of new regulations at the end of 2006 to facilitate foreign media coverage of China.

The country's press authorities have said that China will remain open to foreign media after the Olympic Games.


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