Reporters from around the world started rushing to the media center for the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) after the center started initial operations on Thursday. \"A substantial increase has been seen in the the number of overseas reporters applying cover the 18th national congress, and the number is still growing, as registration is ongoing,\" said Zhai Huisheng, director of the media center. The media center is based in the Beijing Media Center Hotel. It will handle credentials and applications for domestic and foreign journalists, including correspondents from Taiwan and the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions. The center will also arrange coverage for activities related to the congress and provide necessary information and technical services. The rising number of reporters shows the significance of this meeting and the world\'s growing interest in China, said MTV3 Asia Senior Correspondent Petri Saraste, who was one of the first to receive press credentials at the center. Saraste covered the 17th CPC National Congress five years ago. For this year\'s congress, which will convene on Nov. 8, he said he will concentrate on economic development and environmental issues. Compared with the previous congress, the scope of coverage will be expanded and more interviews will be arranged in the media center, Zhu Shouchen, the center\'s deputy director, said. \"They will be quite busy,\" Zhu said of reporters covering the event. On Thursday, the center also launched its official website (www.cpcnews.cn) to offer journalists and readers the congress agenda, the latest news on the congress, announcements and background information on past CPC national congresses in both Chinese and English. The center\'s photo service room will also provide free photos to both domestic and overseas press. Saraste said the center has been well prepared. \"Everything is going smoothly...I have applied via the center\'s website to interview an ethnic minority deputy for this congress.\"