TAIWAN: Beijing co-operates or ban stays says MAC
Xinhua and People's Daily reporters remain banned from Taiwan
Friday, April 15, 2005
The lifting of bans on Taiwanese news Web sites in China will play an important role in any decision permitting the return to Taiwan of correspondents from Xinhua and the People's Daily, Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Joseph Wu said yesterday.
Wu said the council would examine whether Chinese media reports were factual and whether Beijing would allow access to Taiwanese news sites before allowing further journalistic exchange.
Wu's remarks followed the council's decision on Sunday to cancel authorization for Xinhua News Agency and People's Daily journalists in Taiwan. It has since said that Beijing should, at the very least, lift Internet bans on two Taiwanese papers, the China Times and the United Daily News.
"Apart from repeatedly urging China to allow public access to Taiwan's online news sites, we've also been working to attract other media organizations to Taiwan," Wu said yesterday, adding that increased cooperation with Hong Kong media outlets was in the works.
Rejecting criticism that it is violating freedom of the press, the council said that the recent halt on Xinhua and People's Daily activities was in accordance with an overall assessment of cross-strait exchanges. It also said reports carried in Xinhua and the People's Daily were often distorted and detrimental to improving relations with China. Correspondents from three other Chinese media organizations remain in Taiwan.
Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office has called on the council to reverse its decision and "urges the Taiwan authorities to 'remove unreasonable obstacles' and 'correct its erroneous ways' as soon as possible," according to Xinhua yesterday.
Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Li Weiyi on Wednesday sidestepped questions during a press conference on whether the ban on Taiwanese news sites would be lifted, saying only that "the Taiwan authorities' arbitrary interference in the normal reporting work of the two mainland news organizations has harmed the legitimate rights and interests of the mainland press and journalists, causing widespread discontent in journalistic circles on both sides of the Straits," Xinhua reported.
The council was especially critical of Chinese state media outlets, pointing to specific headlines and stories that "fell short" of its journalistic standards.
On Wednesday, Wu displayed several Chinese newspaper headlines, including "People on the island feel the Anti-Secession Law is an opportunity for cross-strait development," "Taiwan's academic circles think the Anti-Secession Law is a goodwill gesture," and "Five major non-governmental organizations in Taiwan reject secession and anticipate peaceful unification."
Date Posted: 4/15/2005