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Foreign publications may be available for Expo

2010. 22 January

Organizers of the Shanghai World Expo are willing to appeal for a temporary lifting of bans on foreign publications for the convenience of overseas participants and visitors to the 2010 mega event, a senior official said yesterday.

By Wang Zhenghua (China Daily)

Zhu Yonglei, deputy chief of the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination, told a press conference yesterday that "we will send proposals at a proper time to meet the demands of Expo participants and visitors, especially from other countries".

The potential suspension of the ban follows the short-term relaxation of curbs on foreign newspapers and magazines around the time of the Olympics in 2008, when about 100 overseas publications hit news kiosks located in areas catering to athletes and international media covering the Games in Beijing.

"The policies adopted during the 2008 Olympics would be a guideline for the Shanghai Expo," a senior official with the State General Administration of Press and Publication, who declined to be named, told China Daily yesterday. "But there is no final decision yet. We hope to work something out as the Shanghai Expo approaches," he said.

Participants applauded the organizers' position while experts are looking at the Expo, which has attracted 242 countries and international organizations, as an opportunity to lift the ban forever.

"Participants at the Expo are coming to China to present their countries as comprehensively as possible," said Pavel Stehlik, commissioner general of the Czech pavilion.

"Publications in English and in Chinese are one of the ways to do that. Although we are not seeking any special arrangements for distributing Czech publications, we would appreciate any opportunity to distribute special fact sheets and documents about the Czech pavilion, the art installations, cultural programs and our country," Stehlik said.

Hanada Mika, an official with the Japan pavilion, said: "It is a good thing because it will help enhance the awareness of Shanghai Expo and attract more visitors."

Guo Ke, a professor in communications at Shanghai International Studies University, said there could be a major reform of the media industry if the ban is lifted for the Expo.

"The Shanghai Expo lasts six months - much longer than the Beijing Olympics," he said. "It could be a breakthrough for the international media in China."

It's the first time a developing country is hosting a World Expo and there were no bans on foreign publications by previous host countries.

Wang Yan contributed to the story