Sun, Aug 27, 2006 - Page 4 News List

China's ban on printing foreign newspapers stays

AP , BEIJING

China has decided against lifting its ban on printing foreign newspapers on the mainland, a Hong Kong newspaper yesterday quoted a senior official as saying.

The government studied the possibility of allowing foreign papers to print on the mainland, but decided against doing so for now, Yu Yongzhan (于永湛), deputy director of the General Administration of Press and Publication, told the South China Morning Post.

"This is a complicated matter, and can't be decided by our administration alone," Yu was quoted as saying.

Newspapers such as the Asian Wall Street Journal, the International Herald Tribune and the Financial Times are sold in Bei-jing and other Chinese cities.

But they must be printed in Hong Kong or elsewhere and shipped to the mainland, reducing their appeal to subscribers. Those sent from Hong Kong usually arrive the evening of the day they are published.

News reports said last year that foreign newspapers might be allowed to publish on the mainland in ventures under government control.

Foreign publishers are eager to get more access to China's growing mainland population of foreign businesspeople and English-speaking Chinese professionals, especially those in business and finance.

Yu also rejected news reports that a Chinese firm had formed a partnership with NewspaperDirect Inc, a Canadian company, to print individual copies of foreign newspapers and deliver them to selected mainland, hotels, embassies and foreign residents.

Yu said, however, that his agency was considering letting Hong Kong firms take a majority stake in mainland publishing ventures.

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