A new opinion poll shows a majority of respondents saying they oppose the signing of an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with China.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) poll, the results of which were released yesterday, showed 45.8 percent of people polled were against signing the proposed trade pact, with 34.9 percent in favor.
Despite the government’s public relations blitz over the past month to promote the ECFA, a large majority of the public is still confused over the content of the proposed pact, the poll revealed.
More than three-quarters of respondents said the government had failed to clearly explain the proposed agreement, while more than half said they believe the agreement will undermine Taiwan’s sovereignty.
The poll of 1,105 voters aged 20 and over, held on Tuesday and Wednesday, also found that 78.7 percent of respondents supported the creation of a cross-strait monitoring team in the legislature to review government agreements with China.
It also showed that 66.1 percent support a nationwide referendum to be held before the government signs an agreement. The poll has an overall margin of error of 2.9 percent.
“What the government has been doing has been wasteful. They have spent a lot of time and money, but still nearly 80 percent of the public say they don’t understand the agreement,” DPP poll center director Chen Chun-lin (陳俊麟) said. “The government needs to make clear what the positive and negative impacts of the ECFA are likely to be on Taiwan.”
Government agencies have been holding promotional events to drum up public support before the expected signing of the agreement in June.
Last week, a series of town hall meetings was criticized after it was revealed that government agencies have subsidized Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers holding such events to the tune of up to NT$300,000 (US$9,400).
“Based on our long-term observations, opposition to the agreement has increased,” Chen said, adding that despite the president’s efforts to reach out to a more rural demographic by holding public meetings with farmers over the last three months, “he just hasn’t been able to connect with the people.”
The ECFA has drawn strong criticism from the DPP and labor organizations concerned that it will lead to a flood of cheap goods and increase Taiwan’s economic reliance on China. Farming organizations have also expressed worries that it could lead to an influx of agricultural products.
The poll indicated that the vast majority of people believe the agreement will favor corporate interests, with more than eight out of ten polled saying it would benefit big business over other segments of society, Chen said.
“The ECFA will have a profound impact on our society,” DPP spokesperson Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said. “The government has a responsibility to make all relevant information public so that the public better understands and is therefore able to participate in the process.”
The DPP wants the government to hold a national referendum on the ECFA and has pledged to support a referendum initiated by the Taiwan Solidarity Union.
Malaysian authorities have advised women to wear makeup, not to nag their husbands and speak with a cartoon character’s soothing voice during the virus lockdown, sparking a flood of mockery online. Like many countries, Malaysia has ordered all citizens to stay at home to stem the spread of COVID-19, which, as of yesterday, had killed at least 39,070 people globally. In a series of online posters with the hashtag #WomenPreventCOVID19, the Malaysian Ministry of Women and Family Development issued advice on how to avoid domestic conflicts during the partial lockdown, which began on March 18. One of the campaign posters depicted
Taiwan will negotiate with the WHO about its participation without Beijing’s help and intervention as more countries, including Australia and Japan, are partnering with Taiwan to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a telephonic roundtable with reporters on Monday also supported Taiwan’s role in the WHO, saying the US Department of State would do its best to assist Taiwan’s “appropriate role” in the world’s highest health policy setting body, Voice of America reported. In a Japan Business Press report published on Sunday, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Kong Xuanyou (孔鉉佑) said
KEEP AWAY: People should wear a mask in places where they cannot follow social distancing rules, the CECC said, adding that it would publish detailed guidelines today The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced 16 new cases of COVID-19, including two domestic cases, as it urged people to practice social distancing in public spaces by keeping a distance of at least 1m when outdoors and 1.5m indoors. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that seven of the new cases tested positive upon their arrival at the airport, four were under home quarantine, one was under home isolation and two were under self-health management, while the two domestic cases sought treatment on their own. The domestic cases are a man in his
Two US senators were critical of the WHO after a senior WHO official appeared to hang up on a Hong Kong reporter who asked about Taiwan’s membership status in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. During a video interview with Radio Television Hong Kong’s Yvonne Tong (唐若韞) on Saturday, WHO Assistant Director-General Bruce Aylward first claimed not to have heard her question on whether the WHO would consider giving Taiwan membership. When Tong repeated the question, he asked her to “move on to another one.” The video then showed the line disconnecting after Tong said she would like to hear more about Taiwan.