Authorities have barred a reporter for a Chinese television network from working in the nation, saying he spread “fake news.”
It is the first time a Chinese reporter has been banned for “creating cross-strait conflict,” the Mainland Affairs Council said.
The decision was due to multiple incidents in which Ye Qinglin (葉青林), from Southeast Television in China’s Fujian Province, breached rules governing Chinese media in Taiwan, the council said.
The rules say that Chinese media must stick to a pre-approved plan and follow the principles of fair and objective reporting.
Ye had over the past 10 years regularly been sent to Taiwan on assignment, but his latest application to re-enter had been rejected, the council said.
“The government respects and protects press freedom, but we definitely will not allow Chinese press to spread false information through fake news,” it said in a statement.
Ye had in the past attempted to report at military bases without authorization, council spokesman Chui Chui-cheng (邱垂正) said, adding that he also sparked controversy in February when he accused a Japanese rescue team deployed after an earthquake in Hualien of refusing to go into a badly damaged building out of fear for their safety.
Authorities at the time said it was untrue and some netizens blamed Ye for trying to harm Taiwan’s relations with Japan.
Ye on Facebook frequently criticizes President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and her policies and supports Beijing’s belief that Taiwan belongs to China.
His rejection comes as China is increasing military and diplomatic pressure on the nation and Taiwan has said it would tighten screening for Chinese officials applying to visit.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said the ban on Ye set a “bad precedent” and that Chinese reporters in Taiwan provided “objective and fair reports.”
Ye on Facebook said that he believed he had been blacklisted for his reporting on the February quake.
“Taiwan authorities can block me physically, but can they block my mouth and my pen?” he wrote. “Increasing cross-strait understanding has always been my pursuit.”
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