By Chen Yu-fu and William Hetherington / Staff reporter, with staff writer
The sudden announcement on Monday evening by China’s Taiwan Affairs Office （TAO） that reporters from three media organizations would be barred from covering Chinese Nationalist Party （KMT） Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu’s （洪秀柱） meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping （習近平） in Beijing yesterday prompted condemnation from Taiwanese lawmakers across the political spectrum.
The three outlets denied press passes were the Chinese-language Liberty Times （the Taipei Times’ sister paper）, online media outlet恆春鎮房屋修繕貸款 Up Media and the Taiwan branch office of the Mirror, a Hong Kong-based publication.
New Power Party caucus convener Hsu Yung-ming （徐永明） said the action highlights the huge difference in press freedoms between Taiwan and China.
“This is censorship of the expression of opinions... When the direction of a news report does not go their way, they just simply cancel it,” Hsu said, calling on Hung to tell Xi that she objects to the decision.
China is “killing the chicken to scare the monkey,” he said, adding that barring media outlets deemed critical of the Chinese Communist Party （CCP） is part of Beijing’s “strategy of division” that includes the move to allow Chinese tourism to cities and municipalities governed by KMT authorities.
Democratic Progressive Party （DPP） Legislator Chuang Ruei-hsiung （莊瑞雄） criticized the decision, calling it uncivilized and laughable.
“Why not simply ban all media outlets and just release a press statement saying that Hung and Xi met fo集集鎮房屋二胎貸款r a discussion?” he said.
Allowing those three media outlets to attend would not have prevented the meeting from going smoothly, Chuang said.
Beijing on內湖融資貸款ly wanted those present who would “sing its praises,” he said.
China depends on its authority as a dictatorship, Chuang said, adding that the CCP’s actions would only humiliate its own people.
“This is unreasonable behavior,” the lawmaker said.
DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei （陳亭妃） said that reporters from the three outlets went through the proper procedures in applying for their press passes, only to have their credentials canceled at the last minute.
This proves that Hung is a “pawn” of Chinese authorities, she said.
Noting that Beijing was not barring all Taiwanese media organizations, KMT Legislator Johnny Chiang （江啟臣） questioned its basis for blocking the three outlets.
Chiang added that from the perspective of press freedom, it was unnecessary.
The Association of Taiwan Journalists also issued a statement condemning the move, saying that the stripping of press freedoms cannot be tolerated.