Taiwan media outlet Master Chain criticized for being China lackey

The Taipei-based media company noted for its pro-China content will open a branch in Beijing

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(Master Chain website screenshot)

(Master Chain website screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan media outlet Master Chain stands accused of producing communist-friendly content and being a Beijing lackey after announcing it would open an office in Beijing.

Given the strict state control of the media in China, it is the first time a Taiwan media outlet has been approved of. Master Chain was swiftly accused by local media of being pro-China, China funded and backed by China-friendly Taiwanese political heavyweights.

Meanwhile, some of the content on the website appears to promote China's Belt and Road Initiative and whitewash communist infiltration in commentary pieces such as: "McCarthyism Returns," "KMT's presidential hopeful Han Kuo-yu denounces Chinese spy story a conspiracy," "Taiwanese businessmen in China return home with NT$700 billion? Not true."

Master Chain issued a letter denying its pro-China stance and the "special treatment" it received to be allowed in China. It said it's not a "traditional news agency" but an "online platform utilizing blockchain technology to create high-quality content to serve Mandarin-speaking elites" — citing this as the reason it was given the green light to operate in Beijing.

"No special treatment has been given, and stop calling Master Chain a red media," it added. Even so, the letter added it is willing to act as a peacemaker for both sides and its content promotes mutual understanding.

LTN found the top executives of the companies are retired managers of NOWnews and the company has expanded from 15 to the current 50 employees in a short period of time. The company is said to have recruited editors at above-average pay rates.

A company manager told LTN that it has received US$100 million from an American company, HASDAQ, to fund the operation and hiring. However, LTN found the so-called "American company" was headquartered in Hong Kong, though its registered location is in the U.S. Most of its business activities take place in China and Hong Kong.

A National Communication Commission (NCC) official told LTN that a TV station would be scrutinized if it ran an office in China, though there is no such law for online media. The official said the organization will continue to look into the matter and ensure it's operating legally.