For the past five decades, tycoon Hsu Wen-long (許文龍) has been one of the nation's most prominent businesspeople, but when he retired last month he probably never imagined that he would get involved in a political skirmish that bears implications for all Taiwanese who do business in China.
\nHsu, 76, founder of Chi Mei Corp (奇美實業), which is known for being the world's largest manufacturer of the plastics product ABS -- acrylonitrile butadiene styrene -- retired from the company last month. This month he will resign his chairmanship of subsidiary Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp (奇美電子).
\nBut Hsu's retirement has not stopped him from being attacked by the Chinese authorities, who have declared him unwelcome because of what they see as his pro-independence position -- as indicated in People's Daily on May 31.
\nThe paper said that Hsu's resignation was merely an attempt on his part to make it easier for Chi Mei to do business in China.
\n"I think as a businessman, Hsu will do what he must to reduce political intervention in his business," said Huang Yueh-hung (黃越宏), author of a biography of Hsu, Concept -- Hsu Wen-long and his Chi Mei empire (觀念 -- 許文龍和他的奇美王國).
\n"But I have to say that Hsu is pro-Taiwan, not pro-independence, as China has accused him of being," Huang said.
\nBorn in Tainan in 1928 during the Japanese colonial period, Hsu's life is like a history of modern Taiwan.
\nThough most Taiwanese loathed Japan's imperialist rule, Hsu reminisces -- as do many who remember that time, such as Hsu's friend, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) -- about the clean government and modern infrastructure that the Japanese brought.
\nIn contrast, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) disappointed Hsu after it took power with its heavyhanded tactics, such as the butchery of the 228 Incident, and with its corruption.
\n"Hsu always draws a clear line between business and politics," said Vivian Tsai (
TAIPEI TIMES FILE PHOTO
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