The Want Want China Times Group went on the offensive on Tuesday after the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) carried a story about Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators criticizing a visit by a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) official to CtiTV and the “supplicant” manner in which the group’s chairman welcomed the official.
CtiTV, part of the China Times Group acquired by food conglomerate Want Want in November 2008, dedicated an entire hour-long program on Tuesday night, with special guests including Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元), attacking the Liberty Times and its founder, and alleging that the Liberty Times’ poll center had faked a poll following Sunday’s debate between President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with China.
The Chinese-language China Times continued the offensive with six articles targeting the Liberty Times yesterday, including a front-page story and an editorial.
On its front page on Monday, the China Times quoted Want Want chairman Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明) as saying during the visit on Sunday: “On behalf of all colleagues at Want Want Group, I welcome CCP Hubei Provincial Committee Secretary Luo Qingquan (羅清泉).”
Luo’s tour included a visit to the CtiTV newsroom.
“After its initial investments in Hubei Province, Want Want Group is confident that investments in Hubei will expand in the future,” Tsai Eng-meng said. “We welcome Luo’s visit here to give us his guidance [蒞臨指導, lilin zhidao] and thank you for your support,” he said.
Luo is leading a 1,000-strong delegation from Hubei to enhance exchanges between his province and Taiwan. The delegation is expected to make more than US$500 million in purchases during the visit, organizers say.
DPP Legislator William Lai (賴清德) said Tsai Eng-meng seemed oblivious to the constitutional status of independent media, adding that the tendency in China to “seek the wisdom” of Chinese officials had no place in Taiwanese media or in a democratic society.
The executive deputy editor at the China Times played down the accusation on Monday night, saying the “seeking the wisdom” reference was polite language. He added that only “bored people” would make a fuss over this.
DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃), however, said the language made it very clear that the Chinese were the main objects of dependence, adding that using such vocabulary to welcome Chinese officials was not accidental.
The China Times Group also owns the Commercial Times, the China Times Weekly magazine, Want Daily and China Television Co, which was formerly controlled by the KMT. All have a pro-China editorial line.
The Hong-Kong-listed Want Want, whose main market is China but also sells in Taiwan and Hong Kong, has a 51 percent controlling stake in China Times Group.
In February last year, Want Want signed a preliminary deal to acquire a 47.58 percent stake in Asia Television (ATV) in Hong Kong, which in recent years has been accused of adopting a pro-Beijing line. Tsai Eng-meng is currently locked in a court battle over control of the broadcaster.
Want Want also operates hotels in the Chinese cities of Shanghai, Nanjing, Huai’an and Xining.
The Liberty Times said yesterday it planned to take legal action against the Want Want China Times Group over “groundless accusations.”
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER
ATTACK UNLIKELY: China would become ‘pariahs internationally for just the wanton destruction of Taiwan’ and would have little to gain from it, Trump’s security adviser said A top White House official on Friday urged Taiwan to build up its military capabilities to protect against a possible invasion by China, saying that Beijing would have that ability in 10 to 15 years. US President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien told the Aspen Security Forum that a missile attack by China against Taiwan would be much too destructive. An amphibious attack is a possibility, although at the moment it is beyond China’s capability, he said. However, China could combine that threat with “gray zone” operations, embargoes, harassment and other actions to intimidate the nation if Taipei does not build
TAKES THE CAKE: Chinese diplomats tried to take photographs of people attending a National Day event in Suva, before reportedly assaulting a Taiwanese diplomat The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday condemned the Chinese embassy in Fiji over a fracas at its Double Ten National Day event at a Suva hotel, while a lawmaker demanded that the ministry file a lawsuit against Chinese embassy personnel for injuring a Taiwanese diplomat at the event. The Grubsheet news blog on Sunday and New Zealand-based Asia-Pacific Report Web site yesterday reported that two members of the Chinese embassy in Suva tried to force their way into a celebration held by the Taipei Trade Office in Fiji at the Grand Pacific Hotel on Oct. 8 to take photographs of
TAIPEI REACTIONS: Joanne Ou decried China’s ‘gangster diplomacy,’ while MOFA said its Fiji counterpart dealt fairly with the incident and protected the trade office’s rights The world should denounce the actions of Chinese embassy staffers in Fiji against a Taiwanese diplomat during a National Day celebration in Suva, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday as it thanked the Fijian government for its help after the Oct. 8 incident. Two Chinese diplomats tried to force their way into a celebration held by the Taipei Trade Office in Fiji at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva on Oct. 8, and a Taiwanese diplomat who tried to stop them taking photographs suffered a head injury. MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) told a news briefing that the ministry
TIT FOR TAT? Messages sent through channels have urged Washington to drop its prosecutions of Chinese researchers or see Americans put at risk Chinese officials warned their US counterparts as early as the summer that they might detain Americans in China if the US does not stop prosecuting Chinese academics linked to the Chinese military, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Saturday, citing people familiar with the matter. China sent repeated warnings through multiple channels, including the US embassy in Beijing, the report said. The message has been blunt: The US should drop prosecutions of the Chinese academics in US courts, or Americans in China might find themselves in violation of Chinese law, the newspaper cited sources as saying. The US has charged several