China Times Media Group filed a defamation lawsuit last week against Financial Times correspondent Kathrin Hille after she published an article alleging China’s meddling in daily newspaper China Times’ editorial direction. The journalist, who has been covering China and Taiwan for over a decade, was also the victim of harassing phone calls and messages after the article was released.
The media group belongs to food manufacturer Want Want, a conglomerate with large operations in China and whose chairman Tsai Eng-Meng doesn’t conceal his sympathy for the Beijing regime. The group has also sued Taiwan’s state-owned press agency Central News Agency (CNA) for quoting the article.
“China Times is abusing the regulation to harass a seasoned journalist whose works it dislikes,” says Cédric Alviani, head of the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) East Asia bureau, who believes the Financial Times report “quite plausible, considering the flaunty pro-China allegiance of the Want Want group.”