Members of the press depended on handouts from a government that could easily starve them out of existence if they made themselves too much of a nuisance. Because most complied, the profession as a whole enjoyed little respect. Historians of the press in Taiwan point out that Chiang Kai-shek during the early years of his administration set forth for the media the responsibility of propagandizing for the government, promoting its policies and advancing the cause of reconstruction. Punishment often involved no more than suspension of operation for a limited period of time. The saturation argument asserted that 31 newspapers more than adequately fill the information needs of a population the size of Taiwan’s. The government cited United Nations statistics placing Taiwan in the same category with such countries as Canada, Singapore and the United States in terms of copies of newspapers per 1,000 population.