Sun, Oct 28, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Media group hires former national security officials

‘NO ESTABLISHED STANCE’:The Master Chain media group is to be a platform for opinions from all sides and would introduce blockchain to the media sector

By Lo Tien-pin and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Yang Kuo-chiang, then-director-general of the National Security Bureau, speaks at the Foreign and National Defense Committee of the Legislative Yuan in Taipei on March 28, 2016.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

Businessman Chuang Li-ping (莊立平) is planning to establish a media group by the end of the year and has recruited several former national security and intelligence officials, sources with knowledge of the matter said on Friday.

The media group is to be called Master Chain (大師鏈傳媒), they said.

Chuang is known for penning an article supporting the so-called “1992 consensus” and accompanying former vice president Lien Chan (連戰) to a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in July, when Chuang was president of the Chinese-language online media outlet Now News (今日新聞).

A Master Chain founding member who declined to be named said that Chuang has invited former National Security Bureau (NSB) director-general Yang Kuo-chiang (楊國強), former Military Intelligence Bureau deputy director Kuo Chung-hsin (郭崇信) and former Secret Service Center deputy commander Chang Kan-ping (張堪平) to join the group.

Yang would serve as the group’s primary consultant, while Kuo and Chang would hold offices that correspond with their respective professional fields, the source said.

The group aims to create a content platform on which opinions from all sides would be accepted, the source said, adding that the group also intends to introduce blockchain technology to the media industry.

“We have no established stance on any matter and will portray the incidents as they are, regardless of the source, be they pan-blue or pan-green,” the source said.

Blockchain, best known for its use in cryptocurrencies, is an immutable distributed digital ledger recording transactions in near real-time. Transactions rely on algorithms to reach consensus among nodes, before being recorded, forming a continuous control mechanism against manipulation and errors in data.

Another source said that Chuang had asked former Central News Agency chairman Chen Kuo-hsiang (陳國祥) to serve as chief executive officer, but Chen on Friday said that he has left the group, declining to comment further on the issue.

Sources said Chuang recruited a high-ranking official from the Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau and former navy captain Kuo Li-heng (郭力恆) to participate in the process of founding the group.

However, both have since left the group, they added.

Industry observers said that Chuang must have good political and business connections to be able to recruit so many retired government officials — especially from the national security sector — to join his efforts to establish the group.

The NSB said that retired personnel are legally obliged to observe regulations on classified data, as well as restrictions on leaving the nation.

It said it would remind the individuals in question of the regulations so that they can continue to maintain national security, adding that it respects Yang and Kuo’s decision to pursue careers in other vocations.

Regarding the claim that Chuang is acting as a “conduit” for Chinese capital to “hijack” Taiwanese businesses, sources close to the matter said that although Chuang’s investment in Now News was labeled as an “outside investment,” Master Chain’s founding capital comes out of Chuang’s pocket.

The money originates in Taiwan and there is no issue of “Chinese funding,” the source said.

The “1992 consensus,” a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) in 2006 admitted making up in 2000, refers to a tacit understanding between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese government that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.

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