To Want or not Want CTi as the NPP trips on itself–Taiwan Report News Brief transcript

Tsai_EngMeng

Apple puts Pegatron on probation over student violations. To Want or not Want CTi as the NPP trips on itself. Continued confusion in the NPP. Taiwan’s friends fail to carry the day at the WHA.

Headlines:

The Uni-President Lions won its 10th Taiwan Series baseball championship title on Sunday, finishing 4-3 in seven games against the CTBC Brothers in the post-season playoffs.
While I was recording the show the other night, fireworks and cars blaring celebratory music broke out, and I assumed that meant the locally-based Brothers must have won.
Turns out in Taichung there are more Lions fans than I thought.
Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen had said that the Brothers would “definitely” win the championship, but apparently they don’t follow orders from the mayor.

Taichung’s mass rapid transit (MRT) system Green Line is set to begin public trials starting next Monday, the 16th before officially launching on Dec. 19.
For the first three weeks of the trial period, from Nov. 16 to Dec. 6, trains will operate between 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily then from Dec. 7, the system will begin its normal daily service hours of 6 a.m. to midnight.
It will be free for riders using an Easy Card during the trial period.
This is Taichung’s first MRT line.
Most importantly is it will allow me to go to more pubs cheaply.

Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) has ordered work on the second phase of Kaohsiung’s circular light rail line system to resume immediately after being suspended since 2018.
He said he wanted the new rail line to begin commercial runs by 2023.

According to the Ministry of Science and Technology spending on technological research and development (R&D) in Taiwan last year totaled NT$660.8 billion (US$22.88 billion), with a record ratio to GDP of 3.5 percent.
NT$540.7 billion came from the private sector, up 8.1 percent from 2018, while NT$120.1 billion came from the government, up 3.7 percent from 2018.
However, while the overall number is strong, basic research made up only 7.29 percent, which is low by regional standards.

The stock market index Taiex, ended up 153.94 points on Monday, or 1.19 percent, at 13,127.47–breaking the key 13,000 mark to reach a record high.
It has since come down a little.

Apple puts Pegatron on probation over student violations

Apple has put Taiwanese supplier Pegatron on probation after finding that the company violated Apple’s supplier code of conduct by asking student employees to work night shifts or overtime.
Apple stated that Pegatron had mis-classified student workers and falsified paperwork to disguise the violations.
Their statement declared “Apple has placed Pegatron on probation and Pegatron will not receive any new business from Apple until they complete all of the corrective actions required.”
In response, Pegatron said in a statement that student workers at its Shanghai and Kunshan campuses had been found working without complying with local rules and regulations.
They added the students have been taken off the production lines and given “proper compensation”.
Pegatron has fired the executive with direct oversight of the programme.
Apple’s investigations found no evidence of forced or underage labour, but stated that “the individuals at Pegatron responsible for the violations went to extraordinary lengths to evade our oversight mechanisms.”
Pegatron now joins Foxconn in having this black mark on their record.

To Want or not Want CTi as the NPP trips on itself

CTi News, a TV news outlet owned by a company 75 percent owned by strongly and proudly pro-unification tycoon Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明), has been subjected to hearings by the National Communications Commission (NCC) over whether or not to renew their license on December 11.
CTi is widely viewed as either part of the deep blue camp or as outright “red”, a cat’s paw for the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front.
For example, the channel during the spring of 2019 devoted 50-70% of its airtime to then KMT Kaohsiung mayor and potential presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu.
Yes, you heard that correctly, 70% of all of a news channel’s entire airtime on a single KMT politician in May of 2019 when they were working to get him chosen as the KMT’s presidential nominee.
They also avoid any reporting that would make Beijing look bad, including any mention of Uigher concentration camps or the democratic uprising in Hong Kong.
The channel has also received the most complaints of any channel, and have received many fines for reporting that wasn’t factual.
Tsai, the founder and chair of the Want Want snack empire, was Taiwan’s richest man in 2017 according to Forbes, and also owns the newspaper China Times.
Reporter Kathrin Hille reported in the Financial Times that newspaper staff receives direct instructions on content from China.
Interestingly, I just loaded a link to a Taipei Times article I had kept entitled “Want Want China Times to sue ‘Financial Times’” and the article has been removed, though articles on the CTi coverage of Han remain up.
A Reporters Without Borders article entitled “Taiwan: Abusive libel suit against Financial Times correspondent” also remains up.
While there is no evidence of money from China going directly to CTi or China Times, they would be foolish to do so–it has been reported that other Want Want group businesses have received significant subsidies in China over the last 11 years.
That is, of course, perfectly legal and other companies without media holdings in Taiwan get subsidies as well.
So there is no sure way to know whether there is a quid pro quo or not.
Of course, there is opposition to the hearings, led by the KMT.
KMT Chair Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) called on Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) not to be the “executioner” of press freedom and democracy in Taiwan.
The KMT Institute of Revolutionary Practice director Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) announced they would be running advertisements for 60 days on bus routes that stop in front of the Executive Yuan “Su Tseng-chang, do not be a democratic sinner who shuts down news stations”.
They appear to be backed by the public, at least according to a Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation poll.
Asked how they would feel if CTi News had its license revoked and shut down, 28.3 percent of respondents said that it would make them “not very happy” and 24.2 percent said it would make them “not happy at all”, for a total of nearly 52 percent opposed.
Only about a third of those polled were in favour.
52 percent is a pretty weak majority, however, considering how fervently Taiwanese cherish freedom of the press.
The star of the hearings was Tsai himself.
Asked how he communicated with the media group’s management while ensuring that they carry out his ideals of “truth and reason, and an authentic love for Taiwan,” Tsai said he only visits the offices of CTi News and the China Times two or three times a year to join company employees in praying to the gods during Ghost Festival and other events.
He denied that he was there to instruct them how to write news reports.
He added that management did not always listen to him anyway, which seems like an odd qualification and highly unlikely.
The party most openly enthusiastic about shutting down CTi is the New Power Party.
Former NPP legislator and party chair Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) flat out accused Tsai of lying in a Facebook video.
He said “Tsai and Want Want China Times Group executives are all in a WeChat group, which is filled with instructions from Tsai on how certain new stories should be covered.
Instead of defying Tsai, the executives all say that they receive his messages and follow his instructions.”
“These conversations clearly show how Tsai manipulates the news by using the group’s news media and CTi News is no exception,” he said.
One screenshot that Huang posted on Facebook is of Tsai giving the group’s news media the green light to attack the NCC after CTi News was fined NT$200,000 for misreporting a statement from a campaign rally host before the 2018 nine-in-one local election.
In the screenshot, Tsai says that the commission has no right to become “a hitman” for the DPP.
Tsai defended himself, saying “He accused me of using a chat room that I share with my colleagues to control CTi News by showing conversations that were taken out of context.”
“I am an ordinary person and can talk with whomever I want.
Why did not the person who took the screenshots show what I said about President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and how I wished for her to be not stuck in the strife between the pan-green and pan-blue camps,” he said.
In other words, while Huang may be showing cherry-picked WeChat screenshots, Tsai isn’t denying them.
Tsai went on to say that he uses his own YouTube channel to publicize his personal beliefs, so he has no need to use CTi News to do so.
He does indeed have his own YouTube shows, and has put up two episodes so far on Facebook that I could see.
But they appear to be more about self-promotion, and certainly don’t preclude using his media outlets to promote ideology, which they clearly do.
More WeChat screenshots have been circulating in the media that are alleged to be of his meddling.
It’s worth adding that WeChat is a Chinese social media outlet tightly controlled by the government, and isn’t widely used here in Taiwan.
Following the leaks of these alleged screenshots, the NPP has called for a second round of hearings saying that this was new evidence that contradicted Tsai’s original testimony, but the NCC has declined.
With the NPP and CTi locked in a tense battle over getting them shut down, what happened next is downright bizarre.
The NPP’s head of their international department “accidentally” made an appearance on the show News Tornado…which is on CTi.

Continued confusion in the NPP

Confusion continues to reign in the NPP as party chair Kao Yu-ting (高鈺婷) stepped down last week after only about two months on the job.
She had taken up the job after her predecessor got caught up in the SOGO bribery scandal.
The NPP has also seen two waves of defections of elected politicians, one last year and one this year, and the party has been struggling as a result.
As for her reasons for stepping down well ahead of the end of her term in February of next year, here is the way it was portrayed in the Taipei Times:
Kao told a news conference in Taipei that she tendered her resignation due to pressure she has faced to prepare the party for the nine-in-one elections.
“Over the past two months, I have been under a huge amount of pressure, knowing that all of the nation’s political parties have started planning their 2022 campaigns,” Kao said.
“Many people have asked about our potential nominees and whether we have plans to work with other parties,” she said.
The purpose of her time as chairwoman was to enforce urgent reform that the party needed to operate under a clearly defined mechanism and to campaign for elections, she said.
The reform was effective, as the party now has a well-run platform that allows members and staff to communicate with one another, she said.
“However, I have no intention of seeking re-election,” Kao said.
“I stepped down to leave room for the new chairperson and party members to prepare for the work of the next phase,” she said, adding that what the party needs is a chairperson who can continue leading the party through the 2022 campaign.
The article goes on to say:
Kao dismissed reports that she has trouble controlling her temper and rarely goes to NPP headquarters, despite receiving a salary from the party, saying that they were unsubstantiated accusations and speculation.
The Chinese language papers didn’t add much to this murky picture.
Apparently some were unhappy she was drawing an NT$100,000 salary, accusing her of being a “fat cat”, but the party defended her on that score.
Instead of “trouble controlling her temper” as the Taipei Times translated it, many local papers referred to “moody” or “emotional”, but that should be taken with a grain of salt–it’s a common line of attack on women regardless of whether it is true or not.
The most likely explanation, and the one that comes closest to her own explanation came from a UDN article, which the Taiwan News translated this way:
A member of the NPP speaking on the condition of anonymity attributed Kao’s departure to her underestimation of the responsibilities of the post.
The individual said Kao has faced enormous pressure regarding the 2022 elections as well as voices questioning her abilities.
Her replacement will be party-list lawmaker Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華).
At age 61, she is older than most in the party.
She’s been an active environmental campaigner for two decades, has written some books and was passed over by the DPP in 2016.
She doesn’t appear to have a lot of executive or political campaign experience, but she has plenty of experience being active in environmental activism, which has some overlapping skill sets.
Will she be able to get the party back up on its feet?
We’ll just have to wait and see.

Taiwan’s friends fail to carry the day at the WHA

In a blow to Taiwan, World Health Organization member countries rejected a U.S.-backed appeal on Monday for Taiwan to be permitted to attend a meeting of the WHO’s decision-making body.
14 countries backed the appeal, but it is unclear what the vote count was in all the reporting I’ve seen.
Responding to a statement in support of Taiwan by the US mission in Geneva, as Reuters summarized it:
China’s mission to the United Nations in Geneva on Friday denounced the “distorted” U.S. remarks on Taiwan, saying the island can only take part if it admits to being part of China, something Taipei’s government has refused to do.
President Tsai commented on Facebook “If the WHO continues to reject Taiwan’s participation due to Beijing’s interference, the world will lose an opportunity to fight the pandemic together and will throw a spanner into its ideal of ‘health for all.'”
The KMT on Twitter posted “We strongly condemn the World Health Organization’s ongoing decision to place the Chinese Communist Party’s politics over human lives. Let us in!”

Image courtesy of Tsai Eng-meng’s Facebook page

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