TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Ministry of Culture said Wednesday that the Chinese newspaper Sanjin City News could be fined if allegations of an illegal Taiwan edition proved true.
Lawmakers from the opposition Democratic Progressive Party said a newspaper from Taiwan’s Want Want China Times Group was helping the paper from the Chinese province of Shanxi to set up a Taiwanese version, which would violate existing laws about cross-straits media policies.
Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai said that if the supposed Taiwan edition was completely the same newspaper as the one in China, it could lose its license. If only the name was the same, there would still be a fine ranging from NT$40,000 (US$1,300) to NT$200,000 (US$6,600), she said.
The minister told DPP lawmakers that it was illegal for a Chinese newspaper to just send its contents over to Taiwan and have a local company print, publish and distribute it under the guise of a local edition.
The Mainland Affairs Council also replied that it would be illegal if the only difference between the original and the Taiwan version was the layout of the pictures on the page.
The MAC said it understood that there was only one page a week which would be written in China while the Want Want China Times Group would adapt the content and layout before publishing it. Both the MAC and the Culture Ministry said they would pay close attention to further developments.
DPP lawmakers warned that China was trying to expand its propaganda efforts by subverting Taiwanese publishing regulations. The government has been trying to obtain more leeway in China for Taiwanese reporters, including the right to set up permanent offices and a waiver of the communist country’s stringent media restrictions.
The Sanjin City News would reportedly start publishing its Taipei edition on January 10, with one paper available per week. The content would be drawn up in Shanxi while the Want Want China Times Group would print it and distribute it in Taiwan, reports said.