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Taiwan condemns Chinese netizens pestering of 85℃ cafe

2018/08/15 19:10:58

CNA file photo

Taipei, Aug. 15 (CNA) Taiwan's Cabinet on Wednesday condemned the bombardment by Chinese netizens of a café chain that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) visited last weekend during a stopover in the United States.

The fierce attacks by Chinese netizens who flooded the Weibo sites of 85℃ Bakery Cafe branches across China and threatened to boycott their business amounted to more bullying of multinationals by China, Cabinet spokesperson Kolas Yutaka said.

"We extend our deep sympathy to 85℃ Bakery Cafe chain and strongly condemn a certain country for its suppression of the free market and international enterprises, based on its own ideology," Kolas said.

Her comments came after Chinese netizens labeled the chain as a pro-Taiwan independence company following a visit Sunday by President Tsai to a branch in Los Angeles, run by a Taiwanese.

As Chinese netizens threatened to boycott the branches across China, 85℃ Bakery Cafe was forced to issue a statement Wednesday, expressing support for the "1992 consensus." The cafe also closed its Weibo site under the mounting pressure.

The 1992 consensus refers to a tacit agreement reached between Taiwan and China in 1992 that there is only "one China" and each side is free to interpret what that means. The consensus is seen by Beijing as a political foundation for cross-Taiwan strait exchanges.

Kolas said the online attacks were all part of China's efforts to pressure companies into adopting its views.

"It's the same as when China forced scores of foreign airlines to designate Taiwan as part of China on their websites," she said. "We strongly condemn such actions and are sorry that 85℃ Bakery Cafe had to issue that statement."

In the statement, the café said it has always been supportive of the "1992 consensus" and will continue to promote the peaceful development of ties across the Taiwan Strait and advance exchanges and cooperation.

It said it is opposed to any comments or acts that might affect the feelings of the people on both sides, since "the two sides are one big family," and it wants to offer the best products and services to consumers.

In response to Chinese media reports that the 85℃ Bakery Cafe branch in Los Angeles had prepared a "big gift bag" for Tsai, the store said there was no gift presentation but rather a shop attendant had asked Tsai to autograph a throw pillow.

Tsai went to the café Sunday during a stopover in Los Angeles en route to Paraguay, where she will attend the inauguration of President-elect Mario Abdo Benitez on Wednesday.

(By Ku Chuan, Miao Chung-han and Flor Wang)
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