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Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen at the TV operations launch of TaiwanPlus, in Taipei on October 3. Photo: Handout

Taiwan’s first English TV channel to tell its side of China story

  • News, lifestyle and entertainment channel TaiwanPlus aims to give island a bigger voice internationally
  • Taiwan needs to be able to combat what Beijing says about the island and put the Taiwanese viewpoint out, culture minister says
Taiwan launched its first English-language news, lifestyle and entertainment television channel on Monday to give it a bigger voice internationally at a time when Beijing is squeezing the island’s footprint and seeking to assert sovereignty.

The government-backed TaiwanPlus began operations last year as a mostly online streaming platform and has been strongly supported by President Tsai Ing-wen.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, Tsai said the channel had already raised Taiwan’s international profile and would help as the island forges ever closer ties with “countries that share our core values of freedom and democracy”.

President Tsai Ing-wen (third left) and other Taiwanese officials at the launch of the TaiwanPlus channel. Photo: Handout

“The stories of Taiwan should be shared with the world,” she said. “With more and more people around the world taking an interest in Taiwan, it is more important than ever that we have a platform to bring Taiwan to the international community.”

Beijing, which claims democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory, is increasingly active in English-language media, conveying the ruling Communist Party’s views to an outside audience, especially via state television’s English-language news channel China Global Television Network, or CGTN.
Beijing is also pressuring Taiwan’s international space, including forcing foreign companies to refer to it as being part of China on their websites and routinely carrying out military drills near the island.


US Vice-President Kamala Harris addresses China threat as she kick-starts her Asia tour

US Vice-President Kamala Harris addresses China threat as she kick-starts her Asia tour

Culture Minister Lee Yung-te said Taiwan needed to be able to combat what Beijing said about the island and put the Taiwanese viewpoint out.

“Internationally our voice has not been fully heard. China continually disseminates that Taiwan is part of China, and lots of people believe that. You tell them that’s not the case, and they ask, why?” Lee said.

“So in the future we’ll be using Taiwan’s own media to explain to the international community why that’s not so.”

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The TV channel is so far only available in Taiwan, but Lee said they were eyeing launching in the United States in the next six months.

Taiwan already has a handful of domestic English-language media, the most prominent of which is the newspaper the Taipei Times, founded in 1999 and published by the mass circulation Liberty Times.