Rights groups and media experts yesterday gave a cautious welcome to China’s decision to allow foreign reporters greater freedom and urged Beijing to extend the same rights to domestic journalists.
China announced late on Friday that greater freedoms introduced for the Olympic Games for foreign reporters would be extended, giving them the right to interview consenting Chinese without first seeking government permission.
The rules were first introduced on Jan. 1 last year as part of China’s Olympic media freedom commitments, but had been due to run out on Friday.
Domestic journalists, however, were not affected by the relaxation and remain burdened with strict reporting restrictions — a fact deplored by rights groups and media experts.
Human Rights in China, a New-York based activist group, urged the Chinese government to also extend these freedoms to domestic reporters.
“The Chinese government should answer the calls of its own people,” group executive director Sharon Hom said. “It should respect its own constitution which guarantees press freedom, a right that many Chinese journalists and writers have paid — and are paying — a great price to exercise.”
David Bandurski, a researcher for the China Media Project at the University of Hong Kong, said the issue of press freedom in China was determined by domestic media policy rather than rules governing foreign reporters’ work.
“This is really about China’s international image,” he said.
The rules announced on Friday also stipulated that foreign reporters would be allowed to report outside the city in which they were officially based without having to get authorization.
But they would still have to get permission from local authorities to gain access to the Tibet, where the military quelled protests against Chinese rule in March.
Chinese nationals, however, still remained barred from working for foreign media organizations as reporters.
Vincent Brossel, head of the Asia desk at Reporters Without Borders, said the move was not enough.
“We hoped that the end of these regulations would be an opportunity [for China] to think about things, to consult others, ask media organizations how things could be improved beyond freedom of movement and interview,” he said. “But the only thing they were capable of doing was to extend these two freedoms.”
CAUTION: Taiwanese should be alert, even if they have just liked or shared posts that would breach Beijing’s national security legislation for Hong Kong, the council said Due to the newly implemented Hong Kong national security legislation, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has drawn up a list of what it described as “high-risk groups,” cautioning them not to travel to Hong Kong. People who support independence for Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang; those who are critical of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Hong Kong government and the “one country, two systems” concept; and those who donated to or voiced support for the Hong Kong anti-extradition bill movement are urged to refrain from visiting Hong Kong, the council said on its Web site. It released two posts on
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
NEW HONG KONG LAW: A visit to Beijing-friendly nations or those with weak judicial systems could leave people at risk of deportation to China, a former MAC official said Beijing could request countries with which it has extradition agreements to deport Taiwanese to China to face criminal charges following the implementation of national security legislation for Hong Kong, a former Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official warned yesterday. Some developing countries, and those close to China because of the Belt and Road Initiative, are likely to accommodate Beijing’s requests to extradite Taiwanese to China, said former deputy MAC minister Chen Ming-chi (陳明祺), who served from July 2, 2018, until May 20, and then returned to his former post as an assistant professor of sociology at National Tsing Hua University. While Taiwanese
MORAL COURAGE: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the global community to face China’s intention to subdue Taiwan and reject such irrational requests The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday strongly condemned the Chinese government for meddling with US officials’ interactions with Taiwan after FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed China’s efforts to discourage US officials from visiting Taiwan. The greatest long-term threat to the US’ information security and intellectual property, as well as its economic vitality, is China’s counterintelligence and economic espionage operations, Wray told a video event at the Hudson Institute in Washington. Beijing is engaged in a highly sophisticated and maligning foreign influence campaign, with methods that include bribery, blackmail and covert deals, he said. Giving an example, Wray said that when a US official