In my blog yesterday I wrote that the Chinese authorities had rescinded press freedoms granted during the Olympic Games. It now appears that early reports from Beijing were too pessimistic and that I may have been wrong.
Â Latest reports from the BBC indicate that the new rules on foreign reporters have been extended, though it is not clear how they will work. This is worth watching. Will foreign reporters now be free to travel within China? Will they be allowed to interview people without seeking official approval in advance? Can I have a visa to visit Tibet? May I interview people involved in protests against official corruption - or will they be whisked away for re-education before the western reporters arrive? Or does China think it can afford to relax the rules because western interest in Chinese affairs has diminished and most of the expensive reporters sent to preview and cover the Games have flown home. Will local officials be briefed to tolerate reporting in a way they have not in the past? The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.... Â