In an attempt to defend his self-proclaimed innocence amid allegations he received funding from China for pro-unification propaganda, New Party spokesman Wang Ping-chung (王炳忠) yesterday took legal action against two media outlets that he said misled the public into thinking he was guilty.
Wang filed charges of aggravated libel with the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office against a Chinese-language Liberty Times (sister newspaper of the Taipei Times) reporter, as well as the news division head and report center director at TV channel SET News (三立新聞台).
“The prosecutors’ office never listed me as a suspect in its investigation, nor did it launch a new probe with me as a suspect. However, some media outlets used affirmative headlines and reported that I had accepted money from China’s Taiwan Affairs Office,” Wang said.
Photo: Taipei Times
The two media outlets are the only ones that failed to correct their reports after Wang urged media companies that had published what he called misleading articles to clarify their mistakes or face legal action, he said.
The only case in which Wang has been listed as a defendant was brought by an anonymous member of the public, he said.
“Anyone can press charges against anyone, just as we did in the past against former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and Premier William Lai (賴清德),” Wang said, referring to cases filed by his party in 2015 against Lee over his remarks that the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) belong to Japan and in September last year over Lai’s support for Taiwanese independence.
On Tuesday, the prosecutors’ office laid out the findings of its latest investigation into Chinese national Zhou Hongxu (周泓旭) — who in September last year was convicted of spying for China and contravening the National Security Act (國家安全法) — as it issued a new indictment charging Zhou with further offenses.
It said that Zhou, with funding from the TAO, had in 2015 used his relationship with Wang and two other New Party members to develop a spy ring through the Fire News (燎原新聞網) Web site, cofounded by Wang in 2015, and the New China Youth Association, of which Wang serves as chairman.
Wang and his fellow party members, who were questioned by investigators on Dec. 19, remain listed as witnesses in Zhou’s case, prosecutors said on Tuesday, and they have been listed as defendants in a case filed by a member of the public.
Wang yesterday on Facebook called on media personality Clara Chou (周玉蔻) to reveal the sources behind her allegations that his father’s bank account had received NT$5 million (US$168,919).
Wang questioned the veracity of Chou’s claims, given that “her so-called evidence-backed allegations were not even mentioned in the press release issued by the prosecutors’ office on Tuesday.”
“I hereby urge Miss Chou one more time to explain her allegations. Did she fabricate them or did she receive the information from a source?” Wang wrote, adding that he would file charges against Chou’s source should their identity be revealed.
Wang was referring to Chou’s allegations made on a political talk show late last month when she claimed that Wang’s family received NT$5 million, presumably from China, in exchange for Wang’s help to establish a paramilitary organization on behalf of the Chinese government.
She later elaborated her claims on Facebook, saying that the money was wired to the bank account of Wang’s father in a single transaction.
Chou yesterday said that her allegations were based on investigative facts, dismissing Wang’s legal threats as an attempt to shift the focus.
“I must emphasize that the Republic of China is a democratic country, where people can freely choose to support either unification or independence and see their freedom of expression protected,” Chou wrote.
Nevertheless, taking money from a hostile nation to engage in propaganda on its behalf, or activities that could jeopardize national security, are considered crimes, she added.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’
NEW CASE REPORTED: A man who returned from South Africa on a flight with the nation’s 460th and 461st cases has now tested positive for the disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that there is no need to test all arrivals to the nation for COVID-19, a policy the Executive Yuan supports. The center reported one new imported case, bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 477. The new case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who on July 25 returned from South Africa, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman. The man had returned to Taiwan on the same flight as cases Nos. 460 and 461, reported on July 27, Chuang said. On July 24,
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday tweeted a welcome to Somaliland’s first representative to Taiwan, Mohamed Omar Hagi Mohamoud, who arrived on Friday. Mohamoud had “braved Chinese pressure” to take up his new post, Wu wrote. “The fact ‘sovereignty & friendship aren’t for sale’ deserves international recognition,” referring to a Somaliland media report earlier this month that Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi had rejected an offer by the Chinese government in exchange for ending its rapprochement with Taiwan. Wu also thanked the US National Security Council (NSC) for praising Taiwan-Somaliland ties. A council tweet on July 10 praised Taiwan