Tens of thousands of Taiwanese on Sunday, June 23, gathered in Taipei under heavy rain to protest pro Beijing media outlets that promote Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s agenda. They called for lawmakers to take action to stop the CCP’s infiltration and manipulation of the media outlets, according to the Taipei Times.
The rally organizers, Holger Chen, an internet star and legislator Huang Kuo-chang from New Power Party (NPP) spoke at the rally and accused those media outlets of pro Beijing coverage.
“China has seriously infiltrated Taiwan’s media and businesses, with CtiTV News being an obvious example,” Holger Chen said.
“The network reports whatever it likes and promotes [certain politicians] to a godlike status,” he said, according to Taiwan News.
The organizers criticized China Times and CtiTV News for their pro Beijing coverage, accusing China Times for giving limited coverage to massive protests against a controversial extradition bill in Hong Kong. The China Times was also criticized for removing all content from the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre shortly after the incident’s commeration.
“We want such media outlets to go away,” Holger Chen said, according to The Taipei Times.
China Times was acquired by the Taiwan-based food company Want Want Holdings in 2008, the publication has increasingly leaned toward pro-Beijing bias in its coverage, according to The Epoch Times.
Taiwanese citizens refer to pro Beijing media as “red media,” taking the red color from CCP’s flag.
Kevin H.J. Lee, a local documentary filmmaker, warned of the risk of fake news promoted by pro-Beijing media, according to The Epoch Times.
“If the Chinese regime launches 2,000 missiles targeted at Taiwan, the red media won’t report it but fool people with fake news,” Lee said. “The red media camouflages itself under the guise of free speech, but it works for the Chinese regime, and puts Taiwan’s administrative power and sovereignty in danger.” Lee added.
Wang Ding-yu, a lawmaker from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), said, “The red media can’t be called media, but the Chinese regime’s lobbying groups in Taiwan,” according to The Epoch Times.
In recent years, Beijing regime has infiltrated local Taiwanese media, political parties, and other aspects of Taiwan society with an effort to influence Taiwanese citizens to accept a future in which the island is “unified” with the mainland, according to The Epoch Times.
Hosts of the rally hoped that this protest could encourage lawmakers to introduce laws to ban pro-Beijing media in Taiwan, and to prohibit or restrict political propaganda and media infiltration conducted by organizations receiving Chinese funding, according to Taiwan News.
“Hopefully, the rally will prompt lawmakers to improve laws to counter Chinese infiltration and motivate the executive branch to crack down on media outlets that have been infiltrated,” Huang Kuo-chang said.
“It is important that we build a defense mechanism based on the idea of ‘defensive democracy’ to protect Taiwan’s democracy and the rule of law, which are under attack,” Huang added.
The freedoms of speech and the press should be protected, but there must be boundaries, he added, according to the Taipei Times.
“China has not only infiltrated Taiwan’s media, but also its schools, communities, temples, and other organizations,” Democratic Progressive Party Secretary-General Luo Wen-jia said at the event.
“To counter Chinese infiltration, which aims to chip away at Taiwan’s democracy, the nation needs to have laws requiring companies controlled by foreign states to disclose their relationship and related activities”, Luo said, according to Taipei Times.
Beijing regime considers Taiwan a part of its territory. The two sides separated since civil war ending in 1949 when the Republic of China fled to Taiwan island, while Communist China stayed in Mainland China. Beijing vows to unify the island by all means, even by forces. Taiwan has its own currency, political and judicial systems, but has never declared formal independence.