The headquarters of Yifang Taiwan Fruit Tea (一芳水果茶) yesterday apologized for a WeChat and Sina Weibo post made by its Hong Kong representative agent on Monday condemning protesters in the territory and expressing support for China’s “one country, two systems” formula.
Yifang is “deeply apologetic for alarming and agitating the public,” the Taiwanese firm said in a statement.
It had no intention of getting involved in politics and it is regrettable that its franchises worldwide have been affected by the Hong Kong agent’s post, it said.
Photo: Ou Su-mei, Taipei Times
The company’s aim is only to “provide the best quality Taiwanese fruit tea products” and to respect local law wherever it operates, it added.
Yifang’s parent company, Inkism International (墨力國際集團), also issued a statement to franchisees, saying that the company’s only focus is to make quality tea.
The company would avoid commenting on the “one country, two systems” formula to avoid further dispute, it added.
Yifang is “a company fighting for its continued survival with its feet planted firmly on the ground,” it said, adding that it would be more prudent when faced with future challenges.
Before the statements were issued, an Yifang branch on Taichung’s Dadun Road said on its Facebook fan page that it “did not endorse the post made by the Hong Kong agent,” and had communicated its grievances to the company’s main office.
“We absolutely will not change our stance on our love for this nation and this land called ‘Taiwan,’” it said.
Everyone deserves freedom and democracy, and those who “bravely protest unreasonable treatment by an authoritarian government” should be supported, it added.
Commenters expressed support for Yifang, asking people to not “blindly” boycott the company and urging it to “hang in there.”
Another user called on others to lodge their complaints about the Hong Kong agent’s post “in the name of the company” on Yifang founder Ko Tzu-kai’s (柯梓凱) Facebook page.
In response to media queries for comment, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said: “‘Fruit tea’ is best when it is natural. If you add politics, it does not taste good.”
In response to some calls to boycott the franchise, former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) said on Facebook: “Drink tea as you did before and continue to oppose [Hong Kong’s proposed] extradition law.”
Taiwan’s livelihood has to be earned on its own, he added.
Additional reporting by Lu Yi-hsuan and Lin Liang-sheng
This story has been updated since it was first published to correct the English name of the company: It is Yifang Taiwan Fruit Tea, not Yifang Taiwanese Fruit Tea.
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