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China: New Rules for Taiwan Journalists

(Nov. 14, 2008) On November 1, 2008, the Taiwan Affairs Office of China's State Council (SCTAO) promulgated Measures on Reporting by Taiwan Journalists in the Mainland of China. The new Measures, which contain 12 articles, became effective immediately, replacing the earlier Provisions on Taiwan Journalists Coming to the Mainland of China for Reporting (1996, revised in 2002). (Measures on Reporting by Taiwan Journalists in the Mainland of China, Nov. 1, 2008, & Provisions on Taiwan Journalists Coming to the Mainland, as revised Dec. 2, 2002, iSinolaw online subscription database [in Chinese], I.D. Nos. 10044371 & 2003819, respectively.)

The purpose of the new rules is reported to be to protect the legal interests of visiting journalists from Taiwan and to promote mutual understanding and peaceful relations across the Taiwan Strait. (Chinese Mainland Publishes New Reporting Regulation for Taiwan Journalists, XINHUA, Nov. 1, 2008, LEXIS/NEXIS, ASIAPC Library, CURNWS file.)

SCTAO will be the office in charge of reporting by journalists from Taiwan, and the local Taiwan Affairs Offices in the various provinces, autonomous regions, and major cities of China will have responsibilities in their own geographic areas. These offices will examine and approve applications from news agencies and journalists based in Taiwan that wish to be stationed in the Chinese mainland. Those journalists who wish to report from Beijing should apply directly to the SCTAO, while those intending to be stationed in other areas should apply to the local Taiwan Affairs Office. Those whose applications have been approved will be permitted to enter China multiple times within the approved period of up to three months; they may also apply for renewal periods of no more than three months. Taiwan journalists stationed in Beijing who want extensions must apply to the All China Journalists Association; those stationed elsewhere in the country should apply for extensions at the same local Taiwan Affairs Office that granted the original permission to be in China as a reporter. (The State Council Taiwan Affairs Office Promulgated New Rules for Taiwan Journalists Reporting in the Mainland, 41 ISINOLAW WEEKLY (Oct. 27-Nov. 2, 2008), email newsletter from [email protected].)

Journalists from Taiwan will be permitted to hire assistants on the mainland, as long as they do so through authorized service agencies. They will also be permitted to bring, install, and use radio-communication devices. (XINHUA, supra.)

The new Measures also stress that journalists from Taiwan must observe the laws of the People's Republic while on the Chinese mainland; follow professional ethics; report in an objective, impartial manner; and not “engage in any activities that do not comply with the nature of their agencies or their status as journalists.” (ISINOLAW WEEKLY, supra.)