President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday visited former president Chiang Ching-kuo’s (蔣經國) mausoleum in Touliao (頭寮), Taoyuan County, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of his death, remaining tight-lipped about the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) rally against his administration.
The president arrived at the mausoleum at about 10am, leading top Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) officials to pay homage and staying a while in front of the former president’s picture.
He shook hands with supporters on leaving the mausoleum, but did not comment when asked about the DPP’s “Fury” rally against the government.
As protesters took to the streets to express their anger at the government in Taipei, Ma was not scheduled to attend any other public events yesterday.
Presidential Office spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi (范姜泰基) said Ma went over government documents yesterday afternoon while monitoring the situation at the rally.
KMT spokesman Yin Wei (殷瑋) said the party’s Culture and Communication Committee was paying close attention to the rally and the responses to the event, dismissing concerns about the KMT’s attempt to downplay the protest.
The Ma administration has failed to give a positive response to three DPP demands: a Cabinet reshuffle, support of anti-media-monopoly acts and a national affairs conference.
While dismissing the DPP’s calls for a reshuffle and a national affairs conference, the government stressed its efforts to prevent media monopolization. This followed a move by a consortium — including pro-China Want Want China Times Group (旺旺中時集團) chairman Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明) — to acquire Next Media Group’s (壹傳媒集團) Taiwanese assets, which sparked debate about growing Chinese influence on Taiwanese media and the concentration of media ownership in the hands of conglomerates.
On Friday the KMT caucus backtracked on its previous support of the DPP’s proposed amendments to the Radio and Television Act (廣播電視法), the Satellite Broadcasting Act (衛星廣播電視法) and the Cable Television Act (有線電視法), arguing that a specific law regulating media ownership is needed.
Premier Sean Chen (陳沖) said yesterday during a visit to Nantou that the Cabinet had already declared its determination to prevent the monopolization of any businesses, including the media industry, and will support the National Communications Commission in drafting a specific law to address issues related to media ownership.
“The Executive Yuan was already working hard to revive the economy and address concerns about media monopolization before the DPP presented its demands at the rally,” he said.