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China has ‘no right’ to order media
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National Security Bureau Deputy Director-General Ko Cheng-heng speaks to reporters in Taipei yesterday. / Photo courtesy of Taipei Times

A communist regime that has no respect for press freedom has no right to tell Taiwanese media outlets what to do, National Security Bureau (NSB) Deputy Director-General Ko Cheng-heng said yesterday.

The government is open to cross-strait exchanges, except those that are being carried out as part of Beijing’s unification efforts, Ko said on the sidelines of a legislative hearing.

He was commenting on a statement on Friday by Wang Yang, chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee, at an annual gathering in Beijing of media organizations from Taiwan and China.

“The peaceful unification of both sides of the Taiwan Strait and the realization of ‘one country, two systems’ rely on your hard work,” Wang said in his address at the closed-door “Cross-Strait Media People Summit,” which was organized by the Beijing Daily Group and the Taiwan-based Want Want China Times Group.

Wang’s remarks clearly demonstrated China’s ongoing efforts to push for unification and were another example of its efforts to encroach on Taiwan’s media freedoms, Ko said.

As a free and open democratic society, Taiwan “does not need a communist country that does not respect press freedom to tell its media what to do,” Ko said.

The NSB said it was closely watching media entities in Taiwan that are pro-China or share China’s values, as some have been spreading disinformation in an attempt to influence public opinion.

Asked if the media outlets at the gathering in Beijing last week could be categorized as “pro-China,” or “sharing China’s values,” Ko reiterated that the NSB would not identify such entities because of ongoing intelligence efforts.

Meanwhile, in a message that Chinese media have played down, Wang also warned Taiwan that the US would not be able to preserve Taiwan’s security and that time is on China’s side in cross-strait affairs.

While China is planning 100 years into the future, Taiwanese authorities cannot even guarantee what will happen two years from now, Wang said.

“Therefore, we are confident in saying that both time and momentum are on our side, the side of mainland China,” he said.

He said that advocates of Taiwanese independence were wrong to “place their bets on the Americans,” and asked whether the US’ Taiwan Assurance Act could really assure the nation’s security.

The US “is just using Taiwan as a pawn. Will it go to war with China for Taiwan? I’m guessing it would not. If we really go to war, will the Americans win? I’m guessing not,” Wang said. “More than 70 years ago, the foreign guns and cannons did not defeat communist rifles when the Americans were supporting the [Chinese] Nationalist [Party, KMT] government, and the Americans didn’t win the Korean War either.”

“They did not defeat us even when we were very poor, so what would happen if they faced China today? Would they have the courage to fight us?” Wang said, adding that there was no path for Taiwanese independence.

Wang’s remarks were not meant for public consumption, but Taiwanese media that did not attend the meeting obtained his full statement. While China’s official Xinhua news agency did report most of Wang’s comments related to media relations across the Taiwan Strait, including his exhortation to advance the process of “peaceful reunification,” it only touched on his comments about the US.

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