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Taiwan extends invite to US journalists barred by China

Taiwan extends invite to US journalists barred by China
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Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu on Saturday extended invitations to the three American newspapers that were expelled from China, offering a foothold in the region to waylaid publications.

On March 18, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal had their press credentials – which were set to expire at the end of 2020 – revoked and their journalists at their China bureaus expelled from the country. The Chinese government also banned the journalists who were kicked out from working in Hong Kong.

But on Saturday, Wu tweeted: “As @nytimes, @WSJ & @washingtonpost face intensifying hostility in China, I’d like to welcome you to be stationed in Taiwan - a country that is a beacon of freedom & democracy."

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Wu added that the publications would be greeted in the China-claimed island with "open arms & lots of genuine smiles.”

Currently, none of the three papers have a permanent base on the island. Taiwan as a whole is home to a small number of permanent foreign correspondents, Reuters reports.

China claims that the U.S. forced it to take action against the papers because of its restrictions on Chinese media.

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In February, amidst the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S., the White House instituted that journalists from Chinese state media be registered to diplomatic missions, saying that it was a response to China's crackdown on independent reporting.

Beijing then booted three Journal reporters after the paper published an article that referred to China as the “real sick man of Asia."

The ousting of the Post and the Times quickly followed.

The three papers reportedly made an appeal to China earlier this week, saying that its move to ban them was “uniquely damaging and reckless” as the coronavirus pandemic, which is believed to have originated in the country, rages across the world.

In a cold response, Beijing cited the trio's reporting, calling it "biased," according to the news wire.