Taipei, April 25 (CNA) The government will look into the issue of subsidies from China and whether such developments are linked to Beijing's ongoing efforts to influence Taiwan's political scene, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said Thursday.
Speaking at a press event, MAC deputy chief Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) reiterated that the government is not against businesses operating in China receiving subsidies there but would be concerned if recipients included media in Taiwan.
Chiu's statement came after Apple Daily reported Monday that a subsidiary of Taiwan-based Want Want Holdings Ltd., in China, Want Want China Holdings Ltd., has received up to 477 million Chinese yuan (US$71 million) in subsidies from the Chinese government between 2017-2018.
Want Want is a food company that was founded in 1962 in Taiwan by tycoon Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明). It expanded its business operations into China in the 1990s, setting up plants across the country.
Citing Want Want's consolidated financial statements for 2017-2018, the report said the company only listed the income as "government grants" but did not detail the reasons for the subsidies or what they were used for.
According to the report, the food company also operates several media outlets in Taiwan, including the China Times newspaper, China Television (CTV) and CTi TV.
Want Want issued a statement the day after the report appeared, threatening to file a defamation suit against Chinese-language Apple Daily for a report it characterized as defamation.
On Thursday, the MAC official said relevant government agencies are paying close attention to the issue and will take necessary measures to guard against China interfering in local politics.
The government will work to maintain fairness and justice in all elections and strengthen relevant management mechanisms to prevent interference by external forces undermining democratic institutions, Chiu added.