Taipei, Sept. 5 (CNA) Taiwan’s Chung Tien Television (CTiTV) filed a defamation lawsuit against entrepreneur Robert Tsao (曹興誠) on Monday, seeking NT$500 million (US$16.26 million) in damages, after he referred to the media entity last week as a “bandit station.”
Tsao, founder of contract chipmaker United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC), made the comment on Sept. 1 during a press conference, at which he announced that he had regained his Taiwan citizenship and was donating NT$1 billion toward civil defense training in Taiwan to counter the China threat.
During the question period, Tsao was asked whether his description of China’s zero-COVID policy as “extremely stupid” also applied to Taiwan’s former Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who had maintained a similar policy for much of the pandemic.
In response, Tsao dismissed the question as a “trap.” He then asked the reporter which media entity he was representing and was told CTiTV.
“I’m not answering anything from CTi, this bandit station,” Tsao responded. “CTi is outright libel. I can’t believe you have the nerve to be standing here. I feel ashamed for you.”
When the reporter tried to ask another question, Tsao said, “Please, no more questions from CTi.”
CTiTV is known as a China-friendly news outlet that now broadcasts online, since its cable news channel was effectively shut down in 2020 when Taiwan’s National Communications Commission (NCC) controversially refused to renew its broadcast license.
The NCC cited “repeated violations of regulations and a failure of its internal discipline and control mechanisms.”
The phrase Fěi tái (匪台), which Tsao used to describe the news outlet, echoes an old anti-Communist China insult, Gòngfěi (共匪), meaning “Communist bandits.”
Sept. 1: Tycoon reclaims Taiwan citizenship, donates NT$1 billion to defense against China
On Monday afternoon, CTiTV Chairman Liao Li-sheng (廖麗生) and reporter Lin Chen-yu (林宸佑) went to the Taipei District Prosecutors Office to file a NT$500 million civil defamation lawsuit against Tsao over the remarks, which they said had harmed CTiTV’s reputation and also demonstrated Tsao’s disdain for “Taiwan’s free and democratic values.”
Any compensation gained in the case will go towards establishing a foundation dedicated to teaching the values of “ethics and integrity” and “respect for democracy” at schools around Taiwan, Liao said.
Later in the day, Tsao threatened to file a NT$5.5 billion countersuit against CTiTV and its parent company Want Want Holdings, which he said had run more than 200 slanderous news stories about him since Sept. 1.
Any damages won in his countersuit, he said, will go towards strengthening Taiwan’s national defense capabilities.
Tsao, 75, renounced his Taiwanese citizenship in 2011 and moved to Singapore, due to his dissatisfaction with restrictions that prevented UMC, one of Taiwan’s major semiconductor firms, from investing in China.
He later became a vocal critic of Beijing, particularly after its crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong 2019-2020, and he returned to Taiwan, regaining his citizenship and announcing plans to fund efforts to defend Taiwan against China.