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Press Advisory: Legal Guidelines for Foreigners -- Olympic Traps for Foreigners?

June 8, 2008

Human Rights in China (HRIC)
June 5, 2008

Human Rights in China (HRIC) is today issuing an English translation
of the Chinese government's reference guide for foreign visitors to
the Beijing Olympics, which open on August 8.

The "Legal Guidelines for Foreigners Entering, Exiting and Staying in
China during the Olympics," released June 2, consist of 57 questions
and answers divided into eight categories including transportation,
accommodations, medical treatment, intellectual property protection
of the Olympics logo, and "special notes." The English translation
prepared by HRIC is appended to this Press Advisory.
If foreigners do run into trouble, the recent crackdown on lawyers
and the lack of a functioning rule of law in China should raise
additional concerns.


In addition to sending a warning to foreigners about prohibited
behavior, including sleeping in parks, carrying weapons,
prostitution, illegal gatherings and parades, and bringing into China
materials that may harm Chinese society, the Legal Guidelines
prohibit entry into the country of those who are mentally ill, who
might engage in terrorist activities, and others "who are believed to
potentially engage in other activities that may harm the national
security and interests."

The Legal Guidelines also prohibit carrying out of China documents or
other materials that are classified as "state secrets." The state
secrets laws and regulations, however, are extremely broad and
provide for retroactive classification, such that everything can
potentially be classified as a state secret.

By linking specific illegal activities with vague prohibitions
invoking national security, state secrets, criticism of the country,
and mass gatherings, these Legal Guidelines can be traps for
foreigners. If foreigners do run into trouble, the recent crackdown
on lawyers and the lack of a functioning rule of law in China should
raise additional concerns. Finally, the spirit of the Legal
Guidelines is in tension with official commitments of openness to
welcoming the international community to the Olympic Games.

Attachment: English translation of "Legal Guidelines for Foreigners
Entering, Exiting and Staying in China during the Olympics" [PDF, 90K]
[http://hrichina.org/public/PDFs/PressReleases/Legal-Advisory-04Jun08-Guidelines-Translation.pdf]

For more information about China's state secrets system, see:

* HRIC Report: State Secrets: China's Legal Labyrinth, June 12, 2007,
http://hrichina.org/public/contents/41421.

For more information about the Olympic Games, see:
* Incorporating Responsibility 2008, an Olympics Campaign by Human
Rights in China, http://www.ir2008.org;
* HRIC Statement: "Chinese Authorities Abuse Licensing System to
Harass Rights Defenders," June 02, 2008,
http://hrichina.org/public/contents/55445;
* "FAQ: Foreign Journalists Operating in China During the 2008
Beijing Olympics," China Rights Forum No.2 (2007),
http://hrichina.org/public/PDFs/CRF.2.2007/CRF-2007-2_IR2008.pdf.;
* "HRIC Statement: China's Foreign News Rules Spell Trouble for an
Open Olympics," September 11, 2006,
http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/30669.
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