Rally against pro-China Taiwanese media held in Taipei

People call on the government to take action against pro-Beijing media in Taiwan

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People rally against pro-China Taiwanese media in Taipei on June 23 (Source: CNA)

People rally against pro-China Taiwanese media in Taipei on June 23 (Source: CNA)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A rally against pro-Beijing Taiwanese media was held on Sunday afternoon, with tens of thousands of people pouring out on Ketagalan Boulevard in Taipei despite intermittent rain.

Media outlets that engage in “brainwashing people” or “idolizing particular politicians” with untruthful news reports “should get out of Taiwan,” said Guan Chang (館長), a well-known live streamer in Taiwan, directly calling out CTi News during a brief interview before walking onto the stage of the rally.

The popular online streamer co-hosted Sunday’s rally with the New Power Party legislator, Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌), to oppose pro-China Taiwanese media that constantly promote Beijing’s political propaganda and disseminate disinformation.

The rally intends to influence the country’s legislature to introduce and pass relevant bills, ranging from communications to national security, and to cross-strait affairs, in order 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 Huang. He also called on the National Communications Commission (NCC) to take effective action.

Even though the rally used general slogans such as “oppose red media” and “protect Taiwan’s democracy” as a call to action, it was mostly targeting Want Want China Times Media Group, which owns China Times and CTi News in Taiwan. The group is led by pro-Beijing Taiwanese businessman Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明), who has been accused of liaising with the Chinese government.

In addition, CTi News has been disproportionally disseminating news, some of which viewed as inaccurate and biased toward Kuomintang Kaohsiung mayor and presidential hopeful Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), according to regular statistics from the NCC. In a political talk show broadcast by CTi News earlier this month, the presenter, Huang Zhixian, openly promoted the “one country, two systems” framework and criticized the Hong Kong protests against the proposed extradition bill.

Today’s event should not be overly associated with politics or political parties, and the efforts to shun pro-China media should be “nonpartisan,” said Huang, despite having invited presidential candidates and four major political parties to attend the rally. The purpose of the rally should not be obscured by the party primary or presidential election, added Huang.

During a live video published two days before the rally, Guan Chang claimed he had lost tens of millions of advertising and endorsement dollars after he announced that he would host the rally in June, because many of his sponsors have businesses in China.

“Money can be earned by hard work, but we should not be intimidated by the enemy,” said Guan Chang when asked to comment on his video. The video blogger said he is pleased by the cross-strait policy of the government now and that for the 2020 presidential election, he will vote for “whoever protests China.”

Through a Facebook post published on Saturday afternoon, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said the rally shows that people are concerned about the Chinese influence in Taiwanese media. She believes Taiwanese society will be more vigilant about the matter.