Thu, Jul 20, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Taiwan won't be `internal path' for Olympics torch

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said the torch relay for the 2008 Beijing Olympics can only pass through this country if Taiwan takes part as an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member rather than as a province of China.

If Beijing insists on Taiwan being considered an internal Chinese route, the Taiwanese people will not accept such a move, a Central News Agency (CNA) report quoted MAC Vice Chairman Johnnason Liu (劉德勳) as saying yesterday.

Otherwise, he said, China's insistence that the torch pass through Taiwan as an "internal route" will make the entire event a big piece of political propaganda by the Chinese authorities.

He was responding to a report by the United Daily News yesterday quoting Jiang Xiaoyu (蔣效愚), vice president of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2008 Olympics as saying that Beijing hoped the Taiwanese businessmen in China could help arrange for the torch to travel through Taiwan.

Jiang made the statement on Wednesday during a meeting in Beijing with Guo Tai-qiang (郭台強), chairman of the Board for Commercial Industrial Development.

According to the report, Jiang encouraged Taiwanese businesses to explore the commercial opportunities of the Beijing Olympics. He invited Taiwanese companies to help with the building of Beijing's Olympic facilities, especially the provision of high-tech equipment.

Liu also downplayed Guo Tai-qiang's suggestion that the Chinese authorities set up a "Taiwanese businessman's court" by having Chinese legal experts who are familiar with both the investment regulations for Taiwanese enterprises as well as Taiwanese commercial operations act as judges.

He said the idea might not solve the legal problems that Taiwanese businesspeople face in China, because the problems stem from the Chinese judicial system itself.

"The problem is not whether setting up a different court for Taiwanese could better protect Taiwanese businesses' legal interests. Rather, it's about that country's overall judicial standards. If the general quality of their [China's] trials are poor, I don't think the idea would work well," CNA quoted Liu as saying.

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