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Taiwanese 85C Bakery Cafe Bows To Chinese Pressure, States Support For 'One-China' Policy

35C store in Songshan, Taipei (by 玄史生 via Wikimedia Commons)

Taiwan's 85°C Bakery Cafe was forced to apologize and state its adherence to the 'one-China principle' after a visit by Taiwanese President Ts'ai Ing-wen to a store in Los Angeles infuriated Chinese netizens.

This week Taiwan's President Ts'ai Ing-wen made a trip to the United States en route to Paraguay. During her stopover Ts'ai met with US lawmakers and Taiwanese-Americans. She also gave a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, the first time in 15 years a Taiwanese leader has spoken publicly in the US. 

Ts'ai's visit drew criticism from China, which regards Taiwan as part of its territory. Beijing has vowed to bring about "reunification" by force if all peaceful options were exhausted. 

On August 14 Ts'ai went to a 85°C store in Los Angeles, where an employee gave her a gift package and asked her to sign a pillow. This prompted Chinese netizens to slam the cafe chain and accuse it to support "Taiwan independence".  Netizens then called for a boycott of the company's stores in China. 






In response to criticism, on August 15 85°C issued a statement endorsing the so-called "1992 consensus" - the view that there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is part of it. 

"Our company has operated in mainland China for many years, and we are grateful for the help and guidance of each government department, for the implementation of every policy favouring Taiwan, as well as for the widespread support of our customers, all of which has allowed us to smoothly expand our business," the statement says. 

"Our company's firm support for the '1992 consensus' has not changed. We continue to resolutely promote the peaceful development of cross-strait relations, the deepening of cross-strait exchange and co-operation, and to oppose any action or words sowing division among the compatriots on both sides of the Strait," it continued.  

The statement explains that the employee who gave Ts'ai Ing-wen the gift package and asked for her autograph was acting in personal capacity and did not represent the company.  

85°C Bakery Cafe was founded in 2003 by Taiwanese businessman Wu Cheng-hsueh. Its parent company, Gourmet Master Co., Ltd, is listed on Taiwan's stock exchange but is headquartered in the Cayman Islands. 

According to Apple Daily, 85°C is highly dependent on the Chinese market, where the company has about 600 stores. 70% of the company's revenue comes from China as opposed to only 17-18% from Taiwan.

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