President Lee Teng-hui this morning met with executive directors of the Newspaper Association of the Central and Western of the United States. During the meeting, the President and his guests exchanged view on issues of mutual concern such as Hong Kong's upcoming transition to the Chinese mainland, the function of the mass media, and the ROC's current development.
On Hong Kong's status change this July, President Lee reiterated that how to maintain Hong Kong's economic prosperity and protect the basic rights of the people there is the ROC government's major concern. The Statute Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau which had been passed recently by the Legislative Yuan was designed to provide Hong Kong people with services in need, he added. On the other hand, the ROC is developing Taiwan into an Asia-Pacific Regional Operations Center, aiming to replace Hong Kong as a regional transshiping center, the President explained.
When talking about the role and function of the mass media, President Lee pointed out that the mass media as a public tool should be educative and informative and should play their role objectively based on facts. He felt that many newspapers, due to iniquitous competition, paid too much attention to the details of criminal cases, thus making people feel insecure about their living environment.
Mr. Jack Bates, executive director of the Newspaper Association of Califonia, agreed with President Lee, saying that there were many criminal cases in the United States and hence the American people had a strong sense of insecurity. However, he noted, U.S. mass media seldom put criminal cases on the front page. He went further to suggest that the mass media in both countries conduct more exchanges in the future.
During the meeting, President Lee also briefed his guests on the ROC's current situation, saying that it was not a long time since this country became a full democracy. There were occasional social disturbances because some old systems and old ideas could not keep up with the rapid social changes. But the President considered these phenomena temporary. After the completion of the on-going renovations such as the consitutional ,judicial and educational reforms, the ROC would become a genuinely modernized, democratic country, he pointed out.
The guests were accompanied by Dr. David Tawei Lee, director-general of the ROC Government Information Office, to the Office of the President for the meeting. Dr. Ding Mou-shih, secretary-general of the ROC National Security Council, and Mr. Stephen S.F. Chen, deputy secretary-general to the President, were also present.