August 23, 2001
His Excellency Chen Shui-bian
President, Republic of China
Office of the President
122 Chung-King South Road-- Section 1
Republic of China
Via Facsimile: 886-2-2311-1604
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is writing to condemn the recent attack on the office of the magazine Taiwan Next (Taiwan Yi Zhoukan), and to ask your government to ensure that the police investigation into the attack is thorough and professional.
Around midday on August 22, a group of men wielding baseball bats charged into the downtown Taipei offices of Taiwan Next, a popular tabloid-style news magazine, and smashed windows, computers, and office furniture. No one was injured in the attack.
"The violence was apparently a warning to Next Media Ltd.," said a police officer quoted by the Agence France-Presse news agency. Next Media, the company that publishes Taiwan Next, is owned by Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai.
Though it has only been publishing for about three months, Taiwan Next has developed a reputation for exposing scandals involving politicians, celebrities, and criminals. Pei Wei, the magazine's editor-in-chief, told reporters that while staffers had received many threatening phone calls in the past as a result of such coverage, "We have no idea who did this."
As an organization of journalists dedicated to the defense of press freedom around the world, CPJ is alarmed by this criminal attack on Taiwan Next. Authorities must ensure that those responsible for the attack are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, thereby sending a clear message that attacks against the press will not be tolerated.
CPJ respectfully asks to be informed about the status of the police investigation into this case.
Ann K. Cooper