TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- As a list of over 70 Taiwanese news media executives and political commentators attending a controversial gathering in Beijing last week was revealed over the weekend, Taiwan's National Security Bureau (NSB) Deputy Director-General Ko Cheng-heng (柯承亨) said on Monday that the free democracy does not need advice from an authoritarian regime where free speech in the media is absent.
Reports said more than 200 news media executives from Taiwan and China took part in the closed-door "Cross-Strait Media People Summit" on May 10, where Wang Yang (汪洋), chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, made a speech encouraging Taiwanese participants to promote the idea of 'one country, two systems.'
The summit was jointly hosted by the Beijing Daily Group and the Taiwan-based Want Want China Times Group. The annual meeting began in 2015.
A full script of Wang's speech was published in several Chinese state-owned media outlets right after the meeting, but had reportedly been removed within a day due to Wang making outrageous and arrogant claims, as follows:
"Taiwan authorities could not be able to fulfill any promises two years ahead."
"China is riding the tailwind."
"The United States won't start a war with China, as Taiwan is nothing but a bargaining chip."
"Is the U.S. brave enough to battle China?”
Chinese top officials are said to have frowned upon Wang's speech.
However, the meeting between Wang and over 70 Taiwanese media executives and political commentators was filmed and made public. Taiwanese netizens identified the faces of the attendees with names and titles in a post-production video, which was widely shared on social media over the weekend.
The attendees represent media outlets across Taiwan, from newspapers to radio stations.
NSB deputy chief: Beijing intervenes in Taiwan's freedom of the press
Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) ordered the NSB, the country's top intelligence agency, to follow up the event on Sunday. NSB Deputy Director-General Ko Cheng-heng said on Monday at a meeting of the Legislative Yuan's Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee that Taiwan is a free democracy and doesn't need advice from a Communist authoritarian regime to teach Taiwan's media what to do.
Ko added that Beijing is manipulating Taiwan's media/ social media and that curbs the country's freedom of the press. "It is doing no good for peaceful cross-strait relations neither for US-China relations.
Concerns over Chinese information warfare
Puma Shen (沈伯洋), an assistant professor at National Taipei University's Graduate School of Criminology, spoke to Epoch Times on Monday and called for speeding up law amendments or legislation to raise people's awareness of information warfare from China and its collection of personal data from private companies.
Proposals of amendments to broadcast laws and the National Security Act are underway to prevent local media outlets from spreading misinformation in favor of China, said Taiwan Society Chairman Chang Yeh-sen (張葉森). He recommended legislation similar to the "Foreign Agents Registration Act" enacted in the U.S. in 1938 which is designed to limit the influence of foreign governments and requires agents representing the interests of foreign powers to disclose information about related activities and finances.