'Expelled US reporters welcome to work from Taiwan' - RTHK
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'Expelled US reporters welcome to work from Taiwan'

2020-03-28 HKT 14:31
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  • Taiwan's foreign minister Joseph Wu says the American reporters will be welcomed to stay there. File photo: AFP
    Taiwan's foreign minister Joseph Wu says the American reporters will be welcomed to stay there. File photo: AFP
American journalists expelled by Beijing are welcome to set up shop in Taiwan, foreign minister Joseph Wu said on Saturday, as the democratic island burnishes its credentials as a regional free speech haven.

Beijing ordered the expulsion of 13 journalists from the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal earlier this month as part of a widening spat over media freedoms with the United States.

The move marked the biggest crackdown on the foreign press by the mainland in recent decades. 

It also rattled nerves in Hong Kong because Beijing's order said the expelled reporters would not be allowed to work there, despite the semi-autonomous city supposedly controlling its own immigration decisions.

On Saturday, Wu took to Twitter to say the journalists would be warmly received on the other side of the Taiwan Strait.

"I'd like to welcome you to be stationed in Taiwan – a country that is a beacon of freedom and democracy," Wu wrote.

"You'll find people here greeting you with open arms & lots of genuine smiles," he added.

Once a brutal autocracy, Taiwan has emerged as one of Asia's freest societies in the last three decades.

It regularly tops media freedom tables for the region and last year became the first place in Asia to legalise same sex marriage.

A number of media organisations and rights groups that are banned from the mainland have opened offices in Taipei. (AFP)