(Clearwisdom.net) Taiwan’s Chunghua Telecom may not renew its contract with New Tang Dynasty Asia Pacific (NTDTV AP) Television because of pressure from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). NTDTV broadcasts over Chunghua's satellites can be viewed in mainland China. Many people see the situation as a disgrace to freedom of the press, and at the same time as limiting the Chinese people's right to know. On June 1, 2011, the Taiwan Legislative Yuan passed a resolution involving the 100th annual central government budget, requesting the Ministry of Transportation to urge Chunghua Telecom to renew its contract with NTDTV. They also stipulated that Chunghua Telecom provide Chungxin Second satellite service (ST2) and requested the National Communications Commission (NCC) to report to the Transportation Committee of the Legislative Yuan if Chunghua Telecom ever violates Telecom Law.

While discussing the Legislative Yuan budget, both parties unanimously agreed that Chunghua Telecom is under the Taiwanese government's jurisdiction; it has become the top telecommunications company in Taiwan and, as such, is under the protection of Taiwan's democracy and justice. Therefore, it should shoulder the social responsibility of sustaining Taiwan's core values of democratic freedom and support independent media who report the truth.

Regardless of Party, Mutual Resolution Provides NTDTV with ST2 Satellite Service

Legislative Yuan Director Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), has noted that ST2 is the only communications satellite that the Republic of China (Taiwan) has control over. He has requested that the Ministry of Transportation urge Chunghua Telecom to renew its contract with the NTDTV Asia-Pacific Branch. Passing this resolution will ensure that NTDTV has use of ST2; if Chunghua Telecom provides a different commercial satellite service to NTDTV, it may be interfered with by the Chinese Communist Party, or Chunghua Telecom may end their contract at any time.

Legislator Ko Chien-ming (柯建铭) has stated that blocking the NTDTV Asia-Pacific branch from renewing its contract is a severe instance of limiting freedom of speech and media survival. Executive Yuan Director Wu Den-yih (吴敦义) has decided that if ST2 does not have the bandwidth, Chunghua Telecom must find another satellite to serve NTDTV. However, Wu said that this would only be a temporary strategy. Private companies can be easily threatened by pressure from the CCP and cancel their contracts with media outlets. Only by letting NTDTV remain on ST2, can NTDTV's freedom of speech be protected.

Legislator Yang Li-Hun (杨丽环) has said that protecting freedom of speech for NTDTV can show that the Republic of China is a free, democratic country. Although signing a contract is a commercial act, the existence of the Asian-Pacific Station of NTDTV has shown Taiwan's respect and support for freedom of speech. Therefore, Legislator Yang believes that the State government should give more protection.

Legislator Wang Sing-nan (王幸男) said in the meeting discussing this matter that the Vice Minister of Transportation discussed with NTDTV the possibility of providing another commercial satellite service and guaranteeing broadcasting capability. However, he immediately said that he was against it because this would provide no guarantee that NTDTV would be able to continue broadcasting. NTDTV has had experiences with commercial satellite companies, which often give in to CCP pressure. Hence, the resolution stated clearly that NTDTV must be carried by ST2. Besides, NCC must strengthen its supervision of Chunghua Telecom, and it cannot use bandwidth as an excuse to block NTDTV.

Legislator Gao Zhipeng (高志鹏) has said that Chunghua Telecom's refusal to renew its contract with NTDTV is undoubtedly due to CCP pressure. He believes that it is ridiculous that they needed to pass a resolution through the Legislative Yuan to request a government-controlled company to execute its contract. Even the NCC stated they would not be involved, which means there are malicious factors manipulating things behind the scenes. Since the Legislative Yuan passed the resolution, he will continue to observe Chunghua Telecom to make sure it executes the resolution. He hopes that CCP influence and pressure will not influence Taiwan's freedom of the press.

Legislator Wong Chin-chu (翁金珠) has said freedom of the press should be promoted. When the executive branch deviates, the Legislative Yuan should be responsible and supervise. She said that the Democratic Progressive Party group believes that Chunghua Telecom's refusal to renew its contract with NTDTV with the excuse that ST2 does not enough bandwidth is unreasonable. Now that both parties have agreed to pass and follow through with this resolution, the Ministry of Transportation and Chunghua Telecom have no reason delay the renewal.

Former Taiwanese Representative to the U.S. Government Believes Taiwan Should Not Give in to CCP Interference

Several news media have pointed out that Chunghua Telecom may be avoiding renewing its contract with the NTDTV Asian-Pacific Branch mainly because the CCP threatened to interfere with ST2 if NTDTV were on it. Mr. Wu Rong-yih (吴荣义), former Executive Yuan Director, said, “Isn't it awful that Taiwan has to follow along with the CCP's wishes?” Joseph Wu Chao-hsieh (吴钊燮), former Taiwanese representative to the U.S., has pointed out that if the government gives in to CCP pressure to interfere with the freedom of speech, that would be the same as sabotaging Taiwan's values and the principle of democracy.

Executive Yuan Director Mr. Wu Den-yih (吴敦义) held a cross departmental meeting on May 24, concluding that Chunghua Telecom should first rent its bandwidth to NTDTV. Chunghua Telecom has not actively responded after one week.

Mr. Wu Rong-yih has said that the non-action of Chunghua Telecom has misled the general public into thinking that the Taiwanese government in charge of Chunghua Telecom has intentionally refused to give bandwidth to NTDTV. Mr. Wu feels that this has had a negative influence on worldwide opinion of Taiwan's freedom of communication.

Mr. Joseph Wu Chao-hsieh has said that the NTDTV Asian-Pacific Branch's contract renewal with Chunghua Telecom has drawn the attention of the international society. In a recent visit to the U.S., he found that many congresspersons are very concerned about the situation and personally asked him about it.

Mr. Joseph Wu Chao-hsieh thinks that, besides an oral decision, executive departments should clearly request in writing that Chunghua Telecom comply within a specified time period.