Then, I asked if an American could enter China with copies of the State Department report on human rights in China. This, he suggested, might also be permissible for "personal" use only.
"Yes," I said, "but what if what I want to personally do with it is hand it over to a Chinese journalist so they can print it in a Chinese newspaper?
"Do you think this is a personal matter?" asked Wang.
"Well, I am a journalist," I said. "I take journalism personally. Could I bring it in and hand it over to a Chinese journalist so he could print it in a Chinese newspaper?"
"Terry, the Chinese position on the U.S. State Department's report is clear," said Wang. "It's against such a report, and each and every time after the coming out of such report, the Chinese foreign ministry will issue a statement making its position clear. It has also been the Chinese government's position to call for the U.S. State Department to stop issuing such report."
"So," I said, "an American would not be allowed to hand over a copy of the report to a Chinese journalist?"
"Again, as I understand," said Wang, "no material -- I mean according to that regulation -- no material that is in violation of Chinese law is supposed to be allowed to enter into the country."
"And that would cover the State Department human rights report?" I asked.
"Well, I think I have made it clear," said Wang.
I asked him how the Chinese government would determine that an American arriving at the Beijing airport with a copy of the State Department report on human rights in China intended it only for his "personal" use and was not going to hand it over to Chinese journalists.
"Well, Terry," said Wang, "I think the people at the customs and border check at the Chinese airports are very much professional. They know how to handle the situation, I think."