1. Applying for Accreditation in China
According to the "Regulations Concerning Foreign Journalists and Permanent Offices of Foreign News Agencies" (hereafter referred to as the "Regulations"), resident foreign correspondents refer to career journalists dispatched by foreign news agencies to be stationed in China for a period of over six months for news coverage and reporting. They may be based in Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen in China. The Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (hereafter as Information Department) is in charge of the affairs concerning resident foreign correspondents in China. With the authorization of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Foreign Affairs Offices (FAOs) of the Shanghai and Chongqing Municipal Governments and Guangdong Provincial Government are respectively responsible for foreign resident correspondents in Shanghai, Chongqing and Guangdong.
To station a resident correspondent in China, foreign news agencies shall first submit a written application to the Information Department. The application may be sent directly to the Information Department or through an embassy or consulate of the People's Republic of China. The application should be signed by relevant management personnel in the agency's head office and should include:
1.) A brief description containing basic information about the news agency concerned.
2.) The name, age, gender, nationality, professional title, resume, and intended city of residence of the correspondent to be sent.
3.) Credentials or documents identifying the correspondent as a career journalist.
Upon approval of the application, the news agency may send the correspondent to China. If two or more foreign news agencies want to appoint the same journalist as their resident correspondent in China, they should go through the above-mentioned application procedures separately and indicate in their respective applications the posts the correspondent will concurrently hold.
2. Applying for a Press Card
Foreign correspondents who have been approved to station in Beijing should register at the International Press Center (IPC) of the Ministry of Foreign affairs within seven working days after their arrival in China. Correspondents to be based in Shanghai or Guangzhou should register at the Shanghai, Chongqing FAOs and Guandong FAO respectively. Each new correspondent should bring its passport and a letter of appointment signed by relevant management personnel at the headquarters of the correspondent's news agency, such as a chairman, president, vice president, editor-in-chief, deputy editor-in-chief, etc. They will be asked to fill out two copies of registration form and submit five passport photos. They will then receive a Press Card issued by the Information Department after 3 working days. Chief correspondents of new agencies based in Shanghai, Chongqing and Guangdong are encouraged to come to Beijing to meet their desk officer of the Information Department within 60 days after their arrival in China.
The Press Card is the bearer's ID card in China. Foreign correspondents must carry and present it for verification when conducting interviews and reporting. When interviewing or traveling, foreign correspondents are required to carry valid documents with them, including the Press Card and passport.
3. Renewing a Press Card
Resident correspondents' Press Cards are valid for one year. The IPC handles the renewal of Press Cards each year in November and December. Press Cards are valid until the end of the year in which the correspondent arrived. Correspondents in Beijing may turn in their Cards to IPC for renewal within the stipulated time. Correspondents in Shanghai, Chongqing and Guangdong shall apply at the FAOs respectively for extension at least 15 days ahead of time. In case of late application, the correspondent involved has to provide an explanation for the delay. Any application that is more than 30 days late, and for no justifiable reason, will result in forfeiture of resident correspondent status.
The Validity period of the Temporary Press Card is not to exceed six months and is subject to approval of the Information Department. If it needs to be extended due to special circumstances, a written application must be submitted to the IPC at least ten working days in advance.
Resident correspondents should submit the following items when applying for renewal of their Cards:
1.) An application letter for renewal signed by the chief correspondent of the permanent bureau of the news agency
2.) A vlid Press Card
4. Reissuing and voiding a Press Card
In case of loss of a Press Card, resident foreign correspondents in Beijing should report immediately by writing to the Information Department, explaining the circumstances of the loss. The correspondent should take out a paid notice in the Beijing Daily declaring the pass invalid. Once the notice has been submitted to the IPC and the application for reissuing the Card has been approved, a new pass may be issued. Correspondents based in Shanghai and Guangzhou should apply for replacement of lost Press Cards in accordance with relevant local regulations. If a Card is damaged, the correspondent can receive a new one after submitting the damaged journalist card to the IPC.
5. Correspondents representing two or more news agencies
In accordance with the "Regulations", if a foreign resident correspondent works for more than one news agency, the chief of the news agency's headquarters should submit a written application to the Information Department for approval. The correspondent should then take the registration materials to the IPC (Beijing), Shanghai, Chongqing FAOs or Guangdong FAO and obtain the Press Card that specifies the agencies that he/she represents.
6. Acting Correspondents
If a resident foreign correspondent has to leave China for a period of between one and six months and the correspondent's news agency intends to send an acting correspondent in the interim, relevant management personnel at the news agency's headquarters should submit a written application in advance to the Information Department, or a Chinese embassy or consulate. The application should include the acting correspondent's name, gender, age, nationality, position and resume, as well as documents identifying him/her as a career journalist. The registration process for an acting correspondent is the same as that for an accredited resident correspondent. He/she can engage in news reporting activities only after obtaining the Temporary Press Card from the IPC. Once the accredited resident correspondent returns to his/her duties, the acting correspondent should stop all press work and hand in the Temporary Press Card to IPC.
7. Replacing the resident correspondents in China
When they finish their posting in China, Foreign correspondents should notify the Information Department, Shanghai, Chongqin FAOs or Guangdong FAO 15 working days in advance. They shall pay all taxes, rents and other due expenses.
Once a foreign news agency wishes to replace its resident correspondent in China, relevant management personnel at that news agency's head office should apply to the Information Department for approval at least 15 working days in advance,in accordance with Article 5 of the "Regulations". As soon as the new correspondent receives its Press Card, the outgoing resident correspondent should stop news reporting activities and return his Press Card to the agency that issued it. Failure by the outgoing correspondent to complete the procedures will affect the successor's accreditation process.
8. Foreign News Agency's Permanent Bureau License
To set up a new permanent bureau, the applicant shall simultaneously apply for the Foreign News Agency's Permanent Bureau License and the Press Card. The applicant should go to the Division of Exit and Entry Administration (DIVISION OF EXIT AND ENTRY ADMINISTRATION) of the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau (PSB) with the Foreign News Agency's Permanent Bureau License and an official letter addressed to the DIVISION OF EXIT AND ENTRY ADMINISTRATION by the Information Department and go through procedures to make an official seal for the bureau. (Foreign Correspondents in Shanghai and Guangzhou should complete this process at departments designated by the local government).