Taiwan condemns Chinese netizens pestering of 85℃ cafe (update)

2018/08/15 21:09:59 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
CNA file photo

CNA file photo

Taipei, Aug. 15 (CNA) The Presidential Office said Wednesday that China was imposing its ideology on the international community and infringing on free speech, after Chinese netizens launched a blitz against a café chain that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) visited in the United States.

"It is an uncivilized act and the Presidential Office condemns such deeds that hinder the world market order and freedom of speech," Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) said.

Huang's comments came after Chinese netizens labeled 85℃ Bakery Cafe chain as a pro-Taiwan independence company following a visit Sunday by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to a branch in Los Angeles, run by a Taiwanese.

Earlier Wednesday, the Cabinet had condemned the bombardment by Chinese netizens of the chain and said it sympathized with the company.

"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," Cabinet spokesperson Kolas Yutaka said.

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, Kolas said.

"It's the same as when China forced scores of foreign airlines to designate Taiwan as part of China on their websites," she said.

The cafe, which has closed its Weibo site under the mounting pressure, issued a statement later Wednesday expressing support for the "1992 consensus."

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.

In the statement, the cafe 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.

Meanwhile, Hung Yao-fu (洪耀福), secretary-general of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, urged Taiwan's people to be compassionate toward Taiwanese enterprises that have come under pressure from China.

"Taiwan is in a very difficult situation in the international community, and so as are Taiwan's companies," Hung said. "It is unfair for an individual business to have to face China's pressure alone and very embarrassing that it has to issue such a statement. But these incidents will only make Taiwan's people stronger in our pursuit of freedom and democracy,"he added.

(By Yeh Su-ping, Lu Hsin-hui and Flor Wang)
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