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Taiwan protests China's partial ban on media coverage of Hung-Xi meet

2016/10/31 22:10:45

Taipei, Oct. 31 (CNA) Taiwan expressed regret on Monday over China's decision to bar some Taiwanese journalists from covering a meeting between Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), head of Taiwan's opposition Kuomintang, and Xi Jinping (習近平), head of the Communist Party of China, in Beijing on Tuesday.

The Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) under China's State Council Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) notified journalists working for three Taiwanese media outlets on Monday that they were barred from covering the Hung-Xi meeting because of the meeting room's limited space.

The TAO said the event's organizers could only allow very limited press access.

Hung is currently in China to attend a forum on the peaceful development of cross-Taiwan Strait relations from Wednesday to Thursday.

Ahead of that forum, Hung will meet with Xi at the Great Hall of the People on Tuesday.

According to Taiwan's Liberty Times and Up Media reports published Monday, the KMT said at a press conference before Hung embarked on the trip Sunday that a quota of 20 Taiwanese journalists would be allowed to cover the Hung-Xi meeting.

The TAO said on Monday, however, that reporters working for the two newspapers and Mirror Media have been removed from the list of Taiwanese journalists permitted to cover the meeting.

TAO spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) said that about 280 reporters have registered to cover the meeting but due to limited meeting room space, media attendance had to be limited to some major news outlets.

Some Chinese and international media reporters along with Taiwanese reporters have been barred from covering the meeting, Ma added.

In response, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), Taiwan's top China policy maker, said Monday that freedom of the press is a universal value.

It said that ensuring the right to press freedom and promoting media exchanges between the two sides of the strait will help enhance mutual understanding of people on both sides.

Meanwhile, the Association of Taiwan Journalists issued a statement on Monday calling on the TAO to ensure Taiwanese journalists' right to gather news.

The TAO's citing of limited space to justify its unilateral decision to deprive some Taiwanese reporters of that right was unconvincing because they have won the chance to enter the meeting room through a drawing of lots arranged by the KMT.

(By Scarlett Chai, Chen Chia-lun and Evelyn Kao)