Mon, Mar 11, 2002 - Page 1 News List

TSU is blase over Chinese visa denials

CROSS-STRAIT TIES Members of the political party say that Beijing should respect Taiwan's independence, since they respect China's decision not to grant them visas

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

TSU lawmakers yesterday called on Beijing not to interfere in Taiwan's affairs, saying Taiwanese are doing the same by respecting China's state policies.

"We respect their decision [to deny us visas to visit China]," said TSU lawmaker Liao Pen-yen (廖本煙).

"We're not going to make a fuss about it. But by the same token, we hope they do the same thing for us by acknowledging Taiwan's independent sovereignty and ceasing to intervene in our domestic affairs."

Liao's comments were made following a series of refusals by China's government to grant TSU members visas.

In addition to Liao, several other TSU legislators have encountered the same problem in the past two months.

Liao told the Taipei Times that his visa application to China was rejected shortly after he won his legislative seat in December.

Another TSU lawmaker, Chen Chien-ming (陳建銘), was rejected twice.

The first time occurred in January, when he applied to visit Shanghai with members of the Rotary Club. The second time took place recently.

A member of the Legislative Yuan's Home and Nations Committee, Chen said he was invited by the committee to visit Hong Kong for business.

Chen said he was the only one in the group whose visa application was turned down.

The discriminatory practice applies not only to TSU lawmakers. The application of Lin Ching-chi (林清吉) -- a candidate who was nominated by the TSU for December's legislative elections but lost -- was also turned down by Chinese authorities.

Lin, a singer, was prevented from being able to perform in China.

According to the lawmakers, all of them have been to China before and have never run into problems in the past. Chen said Chinese authorities have never provided any explanation with regard to their decision.

But the lawmakers believe that Beijing is angered by their strong pro-Taiwan political ideology. That has to be the only reason for China to deny the visas, given that lawmakers of other parties -- including the DPP -- have been free to go there, they said.

The lawmakers said they regretted not being able to get visas, but they are not going to make a big fuss over the issue because Chinese officials must have their reasons, no matter what they are.

Following the same logic, they asked China to stop intervening in Taiwan's national affairs, saying Taiwan is an independent state.

Established last August, the party considers former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) as its spiritual leader and pledges to adhere to the "Taiwan first" principle espoused by Lee.

Followers of Lee's declaration that relations between Taiwan and China are "state-to-state" in nature, the TSU stands out on the country's political stage for its firm belief in "localization."

As many Taiwanese business-people rush to move their investments to China to cash in on China's cheap labor and property, the TSU opposes "China fever" and has called on businesspeople to "keep their roots in Taiwan."

The most prominent case is its recent opposition to the government's plans to lift a ban on two leading semiconductor manufacturers from building eight-inch wafer foundries in China.

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