Fri, Oct 26, 2007 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: BCC: Just a drop in the bucket

On Wednesday, Broadcasting Corporation of China (BCC) chairman Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康) announced the termination of his contract with Hua Hsia Investment Holding Co over the BCC purchase, his resignation as BCC chairman and general manager and his withdrawal from the company's management. This was a victory for the government's quest for the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) stolen assets. But despite Jaw's departure, the BCC remains under the management of Hua Hsia, and the government is still far from achieving its goal.

Jaw claimed he left the BCC because of government pressure, saying that although the National Communications Commission approved the deal, it was annulled by the Cabinet; the Ministry of Economic Affairs did not agree to management changes; the Financial Supervisory Commission checked the company books; the Fair Trade Commission used monopoly concerns to send a letter to more than 200 TV stations causing them to complain to Jaw; and the Criminal Investigation Bureau investigated it.

But Jaw is wrong. The BCC is an inappropriately obtained asset -- just like other assets with unclear ownership that ordinary people would not buy to avoid trouble. Most know that the KMT government gave the BCC its special frequency allotments and that the land where many of the BCC's broadcasting and relay stations stand is national land given to the company by the government. This example of the KMT's direct access to the national treasury is the reason the ownership of much of the BCC's land is being disputed in court.

It is because of these problems that the KMT wanted to dispose of companies such as the BCC, Central Motion Pictures Corp (CMPC) and the China Television Co. Jaw wanted to gain control of BCC frequencies and land at low cost in a bid to dominate the broadcasting industry, and then complained of government intervention when he had to give up his holding.

The KMT was aware of the difficulties it would encounter and therefore sold Hua Hsia -- which owns the three companies -- to Jungli Investment Co and placed Jungli in a Hua Hsia-managed trust. The deal was complex and trod on toes, leading to a number of incidents such as the gun shots fired outside the office of KMT Legislator and CMPC chairman Alex Tsai (蔡正元) in July, possibly in connection with a CMPC shareholding dispute. Jaw also set up four companies to buy the BCC, leading to suspicions that they were front companies.

Many KMT assets have been inappropriately obtained and should not be sold. The government has pursued these assets for quite some time, but because the KMT refuses to return them and is accelerating their sale, the issue remains unresolved. A political solution would be for the government to publish information on how the assets were obtained and then put public pressure on the KMT by holding a referendum on the return of the assets in tandem with legislative elections in January.

Although reclaiming these assets through the courts requires time and money, the government must continue trying to do so because a court decision will have a snowball effect; a verdict can be used as a reference in similar cases and influence the way the public views the issue, which in turn will affect the way they vote in a referendum. The way to solving the stolen assets issue lies in a mixture of politics and justice.

This story has been viewed 2751 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top