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Taiwan 14 April 2005

Two Chinese public media banned from island

Reporters Without Borders has challenged the Taiwanese authorities’ decision to ban two major Chinese media from operating on the island.

Taiwan slapped a ban on news agency Xinhua and the People’s Daily on 10 April 2005. Joseph Wu, in charge of relations with China, said the journalists were contributing to misunderstandings between Taiwan and China.

They had done this through inaccurate articles that played down protest movements against the controversial 14 March 2005 anti-secession law that allows the use of force against Taiwan should it declare its independence.

Urging Taiwan to reconsider its decision, the worldwide press freedom organisation said, "Even though the People’s Republic of China is certainly no model of press freedom, using censorship against its media makes no sense. We believe that the right to news and information should in no circumstances be compromised because of political differences."

Chinese journalists work in Taiwan on a rota system. The new rules imposed by Taiwan take effect in May when the next changeover is due. This means that Xinhua and People’s Daily journalists will not be allowed to enter Taiwan to replace their outgoing colleagues.

Beijing reacted on 13 April. "We hope the Taiwan authorities will cancel unreasonable obstacles and correct their erroneous ways as soon as possible," said Li Weiyi, spokesman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office. Opposition groups and local media have also urged caution on the Taiwanese authorities.

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