Friday, December 30, 2011

Chinese magazine pressured on Taiwan elections

Caijing, one of the rare independent publications in China, appears to have run into the limits of Beijing’s willingness to allow coverage on the election and Taiwan’s democratization

Despite signs the Chinese authorities are allowing unprecedented access to information about next month’s elections in Taiwan, Beijing remains intransigent on certain issues it regards as lines in the sand and it is taking action to ensure that its control remains unchallenged.

A senior editor at Caijing (財經), an independent Beijing-based publication that focuses predominantly on finance and politics, was recently invited by the Lung Yingtai Foundation in Taipei to visit Taiwan for a month to experience the elections, said Bruce Jacobs, a professor of Asian languages and studies at Monash University in Australia and a specialist on Taiwan.

Founded in 2005 by a group of entrepreneurs and intellectuals, the foundation is committed to fostering cultural exchanges, intellectual dialogue and enlivening a positive civic spirit within a democratic framework. The foundation has previously invited Chinese academics and journalists to visit Taiwan on cultural exchanges.

However, the senior editor’s application to visit Taiwan was rejected by China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO), Jacobs said. Undaunted, the editor, whose identity could not be revealed for this article, decided to travel to Taiwan via Hong Kong. Within 48 hours of his arrival, the TAO had reportedly faxed a document to the magazine’s office asking it to explain what the editor was doing in Taiwan.

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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