Thu, Jun 24, 2004 - Page 1 News List

MAC has to step in in China: legislator

STOP OPPRESSION A DPP lawmaker yesterday called on the Mainland Affairs Council to get rescue plans in place for persecuted local businesspeople in China

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

China should not allow its regional officials to oppress and extort money from Taiwanese businesspeople, and the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) should have prevention schemes and rescue channels in place, a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker said yesterday.

DPP Legislator Chang Ching-fang (張清芳) said that China's hostility towards pro-DPP Taiwanese businesspeople had allowed China's regional officials to extort money from them.

"Some Chinese regional officials have falsely accused certain businessmen of tax evasion or smuggling, and arrested them. Then the officials would demand a huge amount of ransom from the businessmen's family or company, as well as documents that prove the businessmen's support for the pan-blue camp," Chang said.

Chang said the Chinese government should not allow regional officials to suppress and extort money from Taiwanese businesspeople, and that the MAC should prepare prevention schemes and rescue channels to protect businesspeople's safety.

Chang also played a tape of a telephone recording in which a Taiwanese businessman told Chang that his company's general manager was arrested for smuggling, whereupon Chinese officials asked for a ransom of NT$8 million and an election-ballot receipt as proof that the man voted for the Lien-Soong ticket in Taiwan's presidential election.

The businessman then explained to the officials there was no such a thing as a ballot receipt in Taiwan.

The official replied that it would be fine just to hand over the money. After some bargaining, the two sides agreed on a NT$6.5 million ransom.

The businessman said that the officials told him to pay the money in Hong Kong and after the money was handed over, the general manager was finally released.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei County Councilor Wang Jing-yuan (王景源) said that a friend doing business in China asked for his help last week because the businessman's partner was arrested by the Chinese police for tax evasion.

The businessman said that the Chinese officials demanded a ransom of NT$4 million and demanded to see a certificate from the pan-blue campaign headquarters as proof of the partner's councilor status.

Wang said that the ransom was paid last weekend, but the partner's release was still being negotiated.

Both Chang and Wang said that protecting Taiwanese businesspeople's rights in China is an important issue for both the pan-blue camp and the pan-green camp, and they asked the MAC to protest and voice its concern to China.

"On the one hand, China says that it will take care of Taiwanese businessmen in China, but on the other hand, it still allows regional officials to bully the businessmen. If this continues, more and more Taiwanese businessmen will refrain from investing in China, and lose faith in China," Chang said.

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