The government strongly condemns China’s interference in Taiwan’s internal affairs and the freedom of its press, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday.
Authorities have long been aware of China’s attempts to influence and pressure local media and a statement by Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Chairman Wang Yang (汪洋) only confirmed this, Tsai said.
Wang on Friday said that Taiwanese media should give more coverage to Beijing’s “one country, two systems” framework.
Wang made the statement following a media summit in Beijing organized by the Beijing Daily Group and cohosted by Taiwanese media company Want Want China Times Media Group (旺旺中時集團).
Other Taiwanese media companies in attendance included United Daily News Group (聯合報), Eastern Broadcasting Co (東森電視) and TVBS Media (聯利媒體).
Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are elements of a democracy most worth cherishing, Tsai said, adding that “we must strive together” to protect those freedoms.
She would ask national security authorities to closely monitor the situation, Tsai said.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Twitter that China has one goal: “Defeat from within front-line state Taiwan’s defense of freedom & democracy.”
On Saturday, the Mainland Affairs Council also criticized Wang, saying he was “using a cross-strait media summit as a platform for political propaganda.”
Taiwanese media companies should avoid helping the Chinese Communist Party in its “united front” efforts, it said.
Beijing has been ramping up and diversifying its interference in Taiwanese society since Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) speech marking the 40th anniversary of Beijing’s “message to compatriots in Taiwan,” the council said.
In the speech, Xi extolled China’s “one country, two systems” framework, describing it as the only peaceful alternative to forcible unification through military force.
The nation’s media have a responsibility to uphold the principles of fairness and impartiality in their reporting, and to defend the nation’s hard-fought freedom of the press and freedom of speech, the council said.
Presidential Office spokesperson Xavier Chang (張惇涵) on Saturday said he hoped that media at the summit in Beijing would report on the “brave spirit of criticism” of China that is displayed in Taiwanese society.
That spirit was one of explicit opposition to China’s “united front” efforts, he said, adding that media companies should assist the government and the public in opposing such tactics.
The government was in the process of developing a robust defense network to protect the nation’s democracy and ensure freedom of speech, he said.
Additional reporting by Yang Chun-hui
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