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South Korea 17 November 2005

US-based Chinese TV station expelled from APEC forum

Reporters Without Borders voiced dismay today at the expulsion of a New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV) crew from the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in the South Korean city of Pusan on 15 November.

Forum organisers accused the two-member crew, led by Seoul-based NTDTV correspondent Chang Sik Lee, of “violating coverage procedure” and withdrew its accreditation although it had been allowed to cover meetings the previous day with no problem.

“NTDTV supports the Falun Gong spiritual movement, which is persecuted in China, and its expulsion from the forum is further evidence of the TV station’s harassment by the Chinese authorities,” Reporters Without Borders said. “It is regrettable that the organisers of such a forum were accomplices to this kind of pressure.”

The crew was expelled after it tried to cover a bilateral meeting between China and South Korea without previously registering for this event. Yet other journalists who had not pre-registered were not asked to leave. Chang accused the Chinese authorities of using this as a pretext to put pressure on the forum organisers to get them to leave.

Reporters Without Borders has registered many attempts to obstruct NTDTV’s operations since it was launched in 2001, including physical attacks, arrests, and economic pressure on advertisers and companies that handle its satellite transmissions.

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