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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Cross-Strait Media Exchanges,

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: Most major Taipei dailies started covering
April 11 a Mainland Affairs Council's (MAC)
announcement made the previous day that Taiwan would
temporary ban China's Xinhua News Agency and the
People's Daily from sending journalists to Taiwan. The
pro-unification "United Daily News" was the only one
that reported the news Sunday (4/10), and it did so on
its second page. Reactions of the major Chinese-
language newspapers in Taiwan to the MAC's announcement
can be generally divided into two distinct groups. The
pro-independence newspapers support the MAC's move by
criticizing the distorted reports issued by the Chinese
media outlets since they were permitted to send
reporters to Taiwan in 2001; the pro-unification and
centrist newspapers are against the move and call it a
cheap policy ploy and a step moving backwards in terms
of cross-Strait media exchanges.

2. Taipei dailies did not spend many pages covering the
anti-Japanese protests in mainland China and South
Korea against Japan's history textbooks that justify
Japan's aggression during World War II. The limited-
circulation, pro-unification, English-language "China
Post" was the only newspaper to comment on the issue,
and it said Japan's repeated refusal to face its
wartime history and to atone for its past may cost it
dearly. End summary.

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1. Cross-Strait Media Exchanges

A) "[Chinese Media Outlets'] Reports Distort the Truth
and Harm Taiwan. How Can [Taiwan] Not Ban [Chinese

Journalist Wang Ping-yu noted in the pro-independence
"Liberty Times" [circulation: 800,000] (4/11):

". If the Chinese people's understanding of Taiwan is
based on the wrong information and reports provided by
Chinese media outlets such as the Xinhua News Agency,
the constant quotes of Taiwan's scholars, groups or
even Taiwan's legislators or political figures are,
without doubt, the best accomplices assisting in
strengthening these misreporting. After all, is there
any other tool in the world that can be more convincing
than [the strategy] of `attacking someone by exploiting
his weakness? .'

"The media exchanges across the Taiwan Strait have been
bumping [along the] wrong direction. How can [Taiwan]
not put the brakes [on such exchanges], or should it
simply ignore the harm [the Chinese media outlets] have
done to Taiwan? ."

B) "Punishing the Media Outlets Is a Cheap Policy Ploy"

Journalist Wang Ming-yi commented in a news analysis of
the centrist, pro-status quo "China Times"
[circulation: 600,000] (4/11):

". At [China's] passage of the Anti-Secession Law, the
[Taiwan] government immediately announced that it
wanted to `conduct an overall review' of [cross-Strait]
exchanges policies. But the government merely talked
about it without really taking any actual action
because the established economic and trade exchanges
across the Taiwan Strait are already an irreversible
trend. But to express its `rage,' the DPP government
needs to take a political posture, and as a result, the
`unilateral' authority to censure and rectify coverage
by [Chinese] journalists has become the cheapest policy
means that the DPP government can adopt.

"To open media exchanges [across the Taiwan Strait] was
originally a policy of the DPP government to
demonstrate its confidence as a ruling party and to
highlight that Taiwan is a democratic and diversified
society. But in an attempt to counteract the Anti-
Secession Law, the government has decided to ban two of
China's biggest state-run media outlets from sending
journalists to Taiwan even at the risk of violating the
freedom of press. Such a move demonstrates that the
government's counteraction lacks comprehensive advanced
planning in advance. ."

C) "The Counteraction against Mainland China's Media
Outlets Is a Step Backwards"

Journalist Wang Yu-yen noted in the conservative, pro-
unification "United Daily News" [circulation: 600,000]

". [MAC's] indefinite ban on allowing China's Xinhua
News Agency and the People's Daily to send journalists
to Taiwan is the severest move adopted by the Taiwan
side in the history of media exchanges across the
Taiwan Strait. Even during the cross-Strait tensions
in 1996, the advocacy of the `special nation-to-nation
relationship' doctrine in 1998, [and] President Chen
Shui-bian's talk about `one country on each side of the
Taiwan Strait,' Beijing has never banned Taiwan's media
outlets from covering news on the mainland. Taiwan
itself enjoys freedom of the press, but MAC's move to
[block] mainland Chinese media outlets is in fact a
step backwards and it will become a joke in the
international community.
"The 10-point consensus reached between [KMT Vice
Chairman] P.K. Chiang and Beijing's Taiwan Affairs
Office mentions that through negotiations between
appropriate private channels, Beijing is willing to
push for long-term exchanges of journalists from either
side of the Taiwan Strait. Now Taiwan has temporarily
banned some of the Chinese media outlets from sending
journalists to Taiwan. Does the move also hint that
Taiwan media outlets must not send journalists to
station on the mainland for a long time without first
obtaining approval from the government or they will be
punished, too? If this is the case, [our] government's
mainland policy is merely aimed at containment. If the
government does not know how to improve [cross-Strait
relations] or change its attitude from being passive to
pro-active, there is no need to talk about using
Taiwan's democracy to influence mainland China!"

2. Japanese History Textbook Controversy

"Threshold for Japan's U.S. Bid Raised by Beijing"

The conservative, pro-unification, English-language
"China Post" [circulation: 30,000] editorialized (4/9):

". Japan's repeated refusal to face its war-time
history and to atone for its past may cost it dearly
this time. At risk is the country's dream of becoming
a permanent member of the United Nations Security
Council. That dream could come true as early as the
coming September if not for the text book flap that has
infuriated millions of Chinese and Koreans. .

"But [U.N. Secretary-General Kofi] Annan is correct to
argue that the Council needs reform as the world today
is vastly different from what it was 60 years ago. And
Japan is a qualified candidate in terms of its economic
clout and the role it plays in aiding the Third World.
But these factors are hardly enough. A country that
justifies aggression and remains callous to the
suffering it inflicted on its neighbors does not
deserve the exalted membership of the Council, which
aims to safeguard the preserve peace."


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