When a Hong Kong paper said earlier this week that it had gotten its hands on a 21-point memo from the Chinese government's propaganda unit telling the national media how it must cover the Olympics, the head of the Beijing Olympic committee scoffed, "There is no such 21-point document. Chinese media, according to the Chinese constitution, are free to report on the games." But then the Sydney Morning Herald got the same document, and published it in full. Witness the worldwide free press in action, propagandists! Highlights of the edicts to the proud nation's "journalists":

1. The telecast of sports events will be live [but] in case of emergencies, no print is allowed to report on it. 4. Don't make fuss about foreign leaders at the opening ceremony, especially in relation to seat arrangements or their private lives. 5. We have to put special emphasis on ethnic equality. Any perceived racist terms as "black athlete" or "white athlete" is not allowed. During the official telecast, we can refer to Taiwan as "Chinese Taipei". In ordinary times, refer to Taiwanese athletes as "those from the precious island Taiwan....." In case of any pro Taiwan-independence related incident inside the venue, you shall follow restrictions listed in item 1. 8. All food saftey issues, such as cancer-causing mineral water, is off-limits. 9. In regard to the three protest parks, no interviews and coverage is allowed. 10. No fuss about the rehearsals on August 2,5. No negative comments about the opening ceremony. 13.On international matters, follow the official line. For instance, follow the official propaganda line on the North Korean nuclear issue; be objective when it comes to the Middle East issue and play it down as much as possible; no fuss about the Darfur question; No fuss about UN reform; be careful with Cuba. If any emergency occurs, please report to the foreign ministry.

And the last half of this directive really sums up the entire government's attitude towards reporting:

17. In case of an emergency involving foreign tourists, please follow the official line. If there's no official line, stay away from it.

[Read the entire memo here]