Media outlets operated by the Want Want China Times Group (旺旺中時集團) yesterday intensified their campaign against a movement by a young Taiwanese student that invited two well-known US professors — who now claim they were “misled” — to be photographed holding a placard opposing media monopolization in Taiwan.
In a series of articles occupying a full page, the Chinese-language China Times, one of several print media owned by the group, provided what it claimed were exchanges with Noam Chomsky, a famous linguist from the US’ Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a controversial figure on the intellectual left, as well as Ned Block, a New York-based philosopher, in which both said they were unaware that the placard contained language opposing Chinese manipulation of Taiwanese media.
Chomsky, 84, said he did not know that the message on the placard, which was written in Chinese and read “Anti-Media Monopoly. Say no to China’s black hands, defend press freedom. I am safeguarding Taiwan here in MIT,” had anything to do with China or Taiwan.
Photo: screen grab from facebook page
Lin Ting-an (林庭安), a Taiwanese graduate student at the Institute of Philosophy of Mind and Cognition at National Yang Ming University, who wrote to Chomsky asking for his support prior to visiting him at MIT, says she clearly explained the matter to him and translated the Chinese content before the photograph was taken.
Lin’s e-mail also included links to an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal and an academic paper published in The China Story that clearly articulated the threat of growing Chinese influence on Taiwan’s media.
In one of its articles yesterday, the China Times reproduced what was purportedly Chomsky’s e-mailed response to Liu Shih Diing (劉世鼎), an associate professor of communications at the University of Macau, who earlier this week was quoted, aga`in by the China Times, as saying that Chomsky had been deceived.
“Thanks for the interesting comments, which go far beyond anything I know about,” Chomsky wrote in the e-mail, dated Jan. 28.
“I also don’t recall a placard referring to ‘Chinese manipulation.’ What I was shown, and held, didn’t go beyond media monopoly and freedom of the press. I hope that interpretations don’t go beyond that,” he said.
In an e-mail dated Jan. 29, Chomsky writes: “We were all apparently misled. The young woman [Lin] who asked me to take the photo informed me, and apparently others, that the poster called for free speech and opposed monopolies, nothing more, nothing about China.”
Block, who was in Abu Dhabi when contacted by China Times reporters, said he did not know the placard contained the words “black hand of China” and added that since his is not an expert on China issues, he would not have agreed to being photographed with it had he known what the Chinese characters meant.
In what has become a predictable pattern in its reaction to individuals who oppose its growing influence in Taiwan’s media, the group’s various outlets seem to have added Lin to the other victims of personal attacks in recent months, which includes student leader Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷) and Academia Sinica associate research fellow Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌).
An e-mail obtained by the Taipei Times written by John Zang (臧國華), Washington bureau chief for CtiTV, to Block, also shows how the academics were guided to provide certain responses.
“The photo has been posted online and is now part of a campaign in Taiwan by a few anti-China and pro-independence advocates against a prominent businessman [Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明)] who does a lot of business in China and who is the owner of several media outlets,” wrote Zang, whose employer is also part of Tsai’s media empire. “The so-called ‘Rejecting China’s Black Hand’ is actually a veiled allegation, without facts, that Chinese money goes into Taiwan through this Taiwan businessman to influence over, interfere in or otherwise manipulate the Taiwan press.”
“I would like to know that before you were asked to hold the placard for a photo, had you been told what the Chinese characters in the placard meant? Had you been told that your photo would be used in a political campaign against a Taiwan businessman?” he asked.
ANTI-SHIP CONFIGURATION: The Tuo Chiang-class vessels are to be built for NT$9.7 billion by Lung Teh, a shipyard that previously built four similar corvettes for the navy The Ministry of National Defense on Wednesday awarded Lung Teh Shipbuilding (龍德造船) a NT$9.7 billion Co (US$317.57 million) contract to build five Tuo Chiang-class corvettes with anti-ship capabilities, a defense official familiar with the matter said yesterday. The corvettes would carry vertical launchers for four Hsiung Feng II (HF-2) missiles, as well as eight Hsiung Feng III (HF-3) anti-ship missiles, in contrast to ships configured for anti-air warfare, which carry eight HF-2 and four HF-3 missiles, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The anti-ship corvettes would be armed for improved standoff range against surface combatants and carry the latest
PARTIAL SUPPORT: Morris Chang said he agrees with the US’ goal to slow advances of China’s chip sector, but US policies that might boost chip prices perplex him Washington’s efforts to on-shore semiconductor production might lead to surges in chip prices and supply bottlenecks, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) founder Morris Chang (張忠謀) said yesterday. The 91-year-old industry veteran said he supports parts of Washington’s effort to slow China’s progress on advanced chip manufacturing. China is still six years behind Taiwan in making advanced chips, despite years-long efforts to catch up, Chang told a Commonwealth Magazine forum that he coheadlined with Tufts University assistant professor Chris Miller, an expert on the US-China rivalry’s effects on chip manufacturing. However, Chang said that other parts of the effort, particularly Washington’s on-shoring
‘COINCIDENCE’: The former president should keep in mind local and global response to his actions and abide by the law to safeguard national interests, the MAC said The Presidential Office yesterday confirmed that it has received an application from former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to visit China next week and would be discussing his security detail. “As the travel restrictions on former president Ma have expired, we respect his plan to pay respect to his ancestors in China,” Presidential Office spokeswoman Lin Yu-chan (林聿禪) said. “We will review his travel plan and consult concerned agencies to assist him in arranging his security detail.” “We also hope that Ma, as a former commander in chief of Taiwan, acts in a manner that aligns with national interests and does not hurt
‘WRONG DECISION’: Honduras should carefully consider the situation, and not fall into China’s trap and jeopardize the bilateral friendship, the foreign ministry said The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said that it had expressed “grave concern” to the government of Honduras after Honduran President Xiomara Castro on Tuesday wrote on Twitter that it would pursue official diplomatic relations with China. In addition to issuing a statement, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Yui (俞大㵢) summoned Honduran Ambassador to Taiwan Harold Burgos to the ministry in Taipei early yesterday to voice the government’s concerns. The meeting lasted about 20 minutes and Burgos did not make any public comments upon arriving at the ministry. Burgos said shortly after noon that he had not yet heard from his country’s