The China Post staff
A pair of mainland Chinese journalists arrived here on Thursday on the first trip under Taipei’s new rules allowing mainland reporters to cover news on the island for up to a month.
The arrival of correspondents Fan Liqing and Chen Binhua from mainland China’s official Xinhua news agency was the latest of a series of goodwill exchanges this year between the mainland and Taiwan.
In the continuing absence of direct transport links between mainland China and the island, the pair flew to Taiwan via Hong Kong.
“Mainland people are interested in all aspects of Taiwan, including politics, economy, culture, and society,” Fan told reporters at CKS International Airport.
Taiwan had long been wary of mainland Chinese media, all of which are controlled by the Communist Party and some of which perform non-journalistic roles that include intelligence gathering and propaganda dissemination.
Foreign and Taiwan journalists in Beijing are under strict surveillance.
Before the relaxation, mainland journalists were allowed to cover news in Taiwan on a case-by-case basis. Only 300 correspondents had actually done so.
In Hong Kong, Fan was quoted by Taipei’s Central News Agency as saying, “Although this isn’t the first time I’ve been to Taiwan, it’s still a new start. I hope our reporting will become a bridge for increased understanding and communication between the two sides.”
Fan in 1991 became one of the first mainland reporters to visit Taiwan since 1949 when she went to cover the detention of a group of Chinese fishermen in a fishing dispute, Xinhua said.
Under Taiwan’s new regulations, mainland Chinese media must staff their bureaus with rotating journalists who can only stay in Taiwan for up to a month. The reporters can travel freely in the capital, Taipei, but will have to get government permission to leave the greater metropolitan area.
(Related story on page 19)