Tue, Jul 30, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Agencies must drop ‘China Times’: academics

By Chen Yu-fu  /  Staff reporter

From left, attorney Chen Yu-fan, National Taiwan University biochemical science and technology professor Huang Ching-jang, Taiwan Association of University Professors president Lai Cheng-chang and Taiwan Brain Trust member Chang Jen-chieh attend a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times

The Taiwan Association of University Professors yesterday urged government agencies and state-owned enterprises to cancel their subscriptions to the Chinese-language China Times following allegations that the newspaper takes instructions from Beijing on how to prepare its news.

News presented from a China-centric perspective could pose a threat to Taiwanese society, yet the government has done little to address the issue, association president Lai Cheng-chang (賴振昌) told a news conference in Taipei.

“We do not want fake news from pro-China media outlets,” he said.

Following a report by London-based Financial Times earlier this month that the China Times takes orders on a daily basis from China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, the association looked into which government agencies and state-owned enterprises — from motor vehicle offices and post offices to the Bank of Taiwan and Chunghwa Telecom — subscribed to the newspaper, he said.

“A copy of the China Times was found in almost every one of them,” he said.

Food safety laws have been amended multiple times to protect people’s health and the government should take a similar approach to manage the media, National Taiwan University biochemical science and technology professor Huang Ching-jang (黃青真) said.

“Media outlets produce food for the mind and the government should have standards and management procedures for preventing that food from being poisoned,” she said.

National Taiwan Normal University Chinese associate professor Edwin Yang (楊聰榮) urged the government to adopt the idea of a “defensive democracy” and take action to address Beijing’s infiltration of Taiwanese media.

In Australia, Chinese infiltration is already being studied, he said, giving as an example the book Silent Invasion: How China is Turning Australia Into a Puppet State, which was published last year, adding that the Australian government has taken countermeasures.

That government agents and state-owned enterprises are widely subscribed to the China Times presents a serious issue, Taiwan Brain Trust member Chang Jen-chieh (張人傑) said.

It is unclear why they think that members of the public should read the newspaper, he added.

After the Financial Times’ report, Want Want China Times Media Group — which owns the China Times — said that it would file defamation lawsuits against the newspaper and other media companies that cited the report, said attorney Chen Yu-fan (陳雨凡), who is to compete for a legislative seat in the Xinyi-Southern Songshan district representing the New Power Party in next year’s elections.

The lawsuit could cause other media outlets to refrain from criticizing the group for fear of retaliation, she said.

Hopefully, the Legislative Yuan would pass a bill requiring individuals and organizations controlled by foreign governments or organizations to disclose such connections in the next legislative session, she added.

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