China sets rules for news reports on Taiwan, HK

by Lim Yan Liang / July 25, 2017 / Straitstimes

The official Xinhua news agency has updated its style guide for Chinese journalists, with a major part of the update stressing China’s sovereignty over Taiwan and Hong Kong.

The circular released last week added 57 rules to a guide first released in 2015 that had 45 prohibited terms. The new rules largely stipulate how the two territories should be referred to in news articles. For instance, Taiwan should not be called the Republic of China (ROC), which Taiwan uses as its official name. The term “Taiwan’s leaders” should be used in place of “Taiwan government”.

Taiwan responded by saying the move threatened to create an impasse in cross-strait ties. Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister and spokesman Chiu Chui- cheng urged the Chinese media to “fully report reality and respect the fact that the ROC exists”.

For Hong Kong, Britain’s 1997 return of the territory should not be called a “sovereign handover” but “the resumption of sovereignty”.

Beijing’s latest move to bring the media in line comes ahead of a top-echelon leadership reshuffle at the 19th Party Congress, expected to take place in the autumn.

Experts said the move continues a trend that began when President Xi Jinping took office, to tighten control over information and the media in favour of the official state-approved narrative.

“He has treated separatist movements in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang through the same prism – the conspiracy theory that destabilising agents in these four places are colluding with the US to subvert socialism and thwart national unity in China,” said Hong Kong-based political analyst Willy Lam. “The emphasis on the correct wordings and titles reflects efforts to further squeeze the opposition in these four places.” Read more….

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