A legislator yesterday called for authorities to investigate the sale of Chinese-made, Internet-connected karaoke machines containing “propaganda songs.”
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) said she was approached by a person who had discovered Chinese patriotic songs such as My Motherland (我的祖國) — which is commonly referred to as China’s “second national anthem” — in Chinese-made karaoke devices sold in Taiwan.
The machines are popular, as they can connect to the Internet, providing access to thousands of songs, she said.
Photo courtesy of Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Ting-fei
One retailer, who asked to remain anonymous, said that the machines first entered the local market about three years ago, starting with karaoke booths installed at public venues.
There are seven brands of the Chinese-made devices sold in Taiwan, including home and commercial units, the retailer said.
While local companies selling karaoke machines in Taiwan must obtain copyright permission for songs — up to 20,000 on home units and 30,000 in commercial devices — the Chinese machines circumvent these rules, they said.
“The Chinese Internet-connected devices break Taiwan’s copyright laws, which is why they can claim to have more than 700,000 songs on them, and why companies selling or publicly using them often face lawsuits,” they said.
These devices invariably contain many songs that are sung by China’s military, or by other members of the Chinese Communist Party, they said, adding that music videos accompanying the songs show Chinese soldiers and weapons.
“Most of these devices come equipped with off-the-shelf boxes that connect to servers in China, which is where they get their content,” Chen said.
China uses pro-unification songs on the karaoke machines as part of its “united front” tactics, and Beijing could stream anything it wants to the devices, she said, adding that she had scheduled a meeting with members of the National Communications Commission and the Ministry of Economic Affairs to discuss the matter at the end of the month.
The Mainland Affairs Council also expressed concern over the content on the Chinese-made karaoke machines, saying that they breached the rights of Taiwanese artists, whose work is often used on the devices without their permission.
The council said it had already filed a lawsuit against Taiwanese companies selling the devices in August last year, and had also met with the commission and the ministry to discuss the issue.
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