Sat, Mar 02, 2013 - Page 4 News List

Beijing using free market to influence Taiwanese media, US symposium told

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter in WASHINGTON

China is using the capitalist system and the free market to influence the media in Taiwan, a symposium at the Sigur Center for Asian Studies at George Washington University was told on Thursday.

Even though China is a socialist country, it does not hesitate to use capitalism to exert its influence, Graduate Student Association of National Taiwan University president Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) said, one of the organizers of the Youth Alliance Against Media Monsters.

He said that companies with strong pro-China ties had been heavily investing in Taiwanese media. The result, he said, had been a “silencing effect” on those who oppose Beijing’s policies and critics of China in Taiwan had been “marginalized.”

Lin said that Taiwanese laws had left a “gaping hole” for Beijing to exploit. He said Taiwan needs to establish legislation, anti-trust laws and “a clear mechanism” to keep Chinese influence of the media in check.

Louis Chiang , senior East Asia officer at the National Endowment for Democracy, told the symposium on “Media Freedom in Taiwan” that outside of the Internet, the media environment within China itself is a “wasteland.”

She said that many Chinese are “censored, controlled and brainwashed” and that if she were inside China herself she could be “put behind bars” simply for saying so.

Nevertheless, Chiang said, “cracks are developing” and Taiwan still serves as an inspiration for those in China seeking freedom of speech.

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