Thu, Aug 23, 2001 - Page 17 News List

Survey reports majority wants direct China links

STAFF WRITER

A survey done last week by Taiwan's Chinese-language Open Weekly magazine said that over 70 percent of Taiwanese support having direct links with China. And nearly 50 percent said they supported an easing of the government's "no haste, be patient" policy.

According to the survey, the reason citizens wanted to see direct links with China opened up were "to improve the cross-strait relationship" and "to boost employment opportunities."

The motivation for easing the no haste, be patient policy, according to the survey, was also "to increase employment opportunities."

The survey showed that 30 percent of Taiwanese do not support the easing of the government's no haste, be patient policy, fearing that such a move would lead to an "outflow of capital" and an "exodus of corporations."

In response to the survey, Huang Tien-lin (黃天麟), national policy advisor to the president, said yesterday that the results shows a lack of understanding on behalf of the public.

"Direct links and the revival of economy are two different things," Huang said. "Direct links will not make Taiwan's economy decline. But Taiwan's market is too small as compared with China's. If direct links were established, some corporations in Taiwan may move their headquarters to Shanghai. Taiwanese may buy property or equities in China. I don't think this will bring the revival of Taiwan's economy."

Wu Hui-lin (吳惠林), a research fellow at the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research, said, "The government's policy to limit investment only makes corporations want leave Taiwan. So the government should `open' rather than `control.'"

Wu said that the government should better publicize information about investing in China and allow the public to evaluate the risks.

"The public seems unaware of the risks of investing in China. Local media often only reports the advantages. The government should make sure that public knows the truth," Wu said.

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