Sun, Sep 23, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Chinese job banks pose data risk, academics say

ONLINE SOVEREIGNTY:China is ‘essentially ruling’ Taiwanese on the Internet by collecting their data and forcing them to select ‘Taiwan, China’ on job banks

By Chung Li-hua  /  Staff reporter

The registration form on a Chinese job search Web site yesterday shows the need for Taiwanese to select “Taiwan, China” to register.

Photo screengrab from the Internet

Chinese state-sponsored online job banks have created interfaces that require Taiwanese to register personal information, which would result in that information being obtained by the Chinese government, academics said yesterday.

The Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) and the Employment Service Act (就業服務法) stipulate that Taiwanese online job banks are not allowed to post job vacancies in China, or they would face fines of NT$100,000 to NT$500,000.

However, a slew of Chinese online job banks — including zhaopin.com (智聯招聘), Ahighpin.cn (智聯卓聘), lagou.com (拉勾網), 51job.com and zhipin.com (Boss直聘) — allow Taiwanese to sign up for accounts using a cellphone, which means they do not have to be in China to look for jobs and can have interviews online.

Taiwanese wanting to use the Chinese job banks are required to select “Taiwan, China” when registering their location, which acknowledges Beijing’s “one China” principle, academics said.

China is compromising Taiwanese sovereignty in every possible way and is seeking to extend its governance to Taiwan by imposing its view that “Taiwan is a part of Chinese territory” through the Internet, National Tsinghua University Institute of Sociology associate professor Shen Hsiu-hua (沈秀華) said.

“While not having direct rule over Taiwanese, [China] is essentially ruling Taiwanese at home and in China through the Internet,” Shen said.

“People who have little or no sense of the threat and value the convenience brought by the Internet are put in danger of being monitored by the Chinese government, even though they are in Taiwan,” she said.

Chinese online job banks are supported by the Chinese Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, as they need to have government connections before they can start operations, which is why their Taiwanese counterparts failed when they tried to launch their services in China, Academia Sinica Institute of Sociology associate research fellow Lin Thung-hong (林宗弘) said.

All data entered into Chinese online job banks are linked to Beijing’s databases under the direct control of the Chinese Communist Party, which creates a “political file” for each Taiwanese they monitor, Lin said, adding that the only Taiwanese who are sheltered are interns working for Taiwanese companies at branch offices in China.

If Beijing says that the political record of a Taiwanese is tarnished, it would seriously hurt their chances of receiving a promotion, Lin said.

The number of Taiwanese working as cadets in offices or branch offices set up by companies in China has decreased from 430,000 in 2014 to about 400,000 last year, he said, citing Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics data.

The advantages of working in China are diminishing due to the negative effect the US-China trade war has had on the Chinese economy, he said, adding that job prospects there are bleak.

People thinking about working in China should consider this, as well as the increased political risks they would face, he said.

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