Mon, Jun 08, 2015 - Page 3 News List

ATJ says Chinese law will endanger media freedoms

Staff writer, with CNA

The Association of Taiwan Journalists (ATJ) on Wednesday railed against China’s draft national security act, which passed its second reading by the Chinese National People’s Congress Standing Committee last month, saying it might gravely endanger Taiwan’s freedom of the press and freedom of expression.

Article 11 of the draft law states that China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is a common obligation of all Chinese, including the people of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, and that no division will be tolerated.

The ATJ said the article failed to recognize the reality that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are governed by two distinct states whose sovereignty and legal jurisdictions do not overlap, and that Taiwan is not subject to such “obligations.” The ATJ demanded that China delete the “ridiculous” article.

Most notably, the ATJ said, Article 81 of the draft states that violation of this and related laws would be punishable by legal repercussions, meaning that Taiwanese reporters working in China would undoubtedly become a “high-risk group” after the law is enacted.

It said that under the vaguely defined Article 81, the work of journalists — news reports, commentary or social media activity — could be used as “criminal evidence” for accusations of “failing to perform national security obligations” by the Chinese government.

In addition, the International Federation of Journalists and its affiliate the Hong Kong Journalists Association, as well as many other news freedom and human rights organizations, have expressed concern about China’s national security law.

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