If you can’t beat ’em, buy ’em. That may be the philosophy behind the proposed takeover of much of Taiwan’s free press by a mainland Chinese company that is conspicuous for its loyalty to the Communist Party:
Americans everywhere should at least be aware of the disaster that’s about to happen to democratic Taiwan’s media market.
Taiwan’s most popular and independent media organization, Next Media, is about to be sold to China-based tycoon Tsai Eng-Meng, in a deal which would give him and his company (Want Want China Times Group) control of 50% of Taiwan’s entire print news industry. Considering the fact that Want Want already controls many cable and television systems on the island, Eng-Meng is buying his way to being the top-dog in Taiwan’s media market.
The $600 million takeover is not so much a business deal as it is a proxy invasion of Taiwan’s independent press by the Chinese Communist Party. Eng-Meng, who is Taiwanese himself and holds large financial stakes in China, has been a vocal supporter of unification between communist China and democratic Taiwan. He is also an ally of Beijing’s communist government. These positions put Eng-Meng deeply at odds with the vast majority of the Taiwanese people.
Maybe we can help them to understand what it is like to have a press that is “deeply at odds with the vast majority of the people.”
The Taiwanese people are afraid of the deal and what it might mean for their free press, and have taken to the streets to protest. Last weekend, as many as ten thousand Taiwanese protested in the capital. Persuading regulators to stop the media deal from taking place was among their demands.
Taiwan has made significant contributions to the prosperity of the free world. It would be interesting to know what our new Secretary of State, John Kerry, thinks about Chinese Communist propaganda, now that he has gotten out of the habit of retailing it himself.