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Taiwan Urged to Remove Ban on Mainland Journalists
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The Chinese mainland has urged the Taiwan authorities to lift a ban that forbids two leading mainland news organizations, People's Daily and Xinhua News Agency, to have reporters in Taiwan.

"In April 2005, the authorities in Taiwan very rudely and unreasonably banned Xinhua and People's Daily from stationing reporters in Taiwan," said Li Weiyi, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, at a press conference in Beijing on Wednesday.

"It directly impaired the news reporting work of the two news organizations, harmed the interests of their customers and damaged cross-Straits media exchanges," he said.

The mainland allowed Taiwan media organizations to station reporters on the mainland in 1993. By April 2005, 12 Taiwan media organizations had stationed reporters in mainland cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu.

Taiwan authorities announced limited access to journalists from mainland in 2000. Five mainland official news organizations - Xinhua News Agency, People's Daily, China Central Television (CCTV), China National Radio and China News Service - were granted permission to station reporters in Taiwan.

In April 2005, the Taiwan authorities barred Xinhua News Agency and People's Daily from stationing reporters on the island, arguing that their journalists reported conflicting opinions to those held by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Taiwan authorities.

The move met with sharp criticism in both the mainland and Taiwan. An article carried in the United Daily News newspaper in Taiwan called it "the most serious setback in media exchanges across the Taiwan Straits" and said "the decision will be ridiculed by the international community".

At present, only three mainland news organizations are allowed to send journalists and photographers to Taiwan on a monthly rotation basis.

The mainland issued a set of regulations on Wednesday offering Taiwan journalists more convenience in reporting on the mainland in the run-up to and during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

(Xinhua News Agency December 28, 2006)

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