Chinese ad listing local banks as ‘on the island’ attacked

By Lee Yu-hsin and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Wed, Dec 11, 2013 - Page 1

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday accused local banks of going along with the downgrading of the nation’s sovereign status to that of a Chinese island province in full-page advertisements run by China’s China Construction Bank Corp (中國建設銀行) on the front page of several Chinese-language newspapers yesterday.

Several local banks — including the state-run Bank of Taiwan (台灣銀行) — were listed along with Chinese banks in the ads congratulating China Construction Bank Corp under a big-character headline that included the term daonei (島內), or “on the island.”

The ads congratulated China Construction Bank Corp for issuing yuan-based bonds, named “Formosa bonds” (寶島債), in Taiwan.

“Today [Taiwan] is called daonei, tomorrow it will be called a special district and then be called the Taiwan province [of China] in the future,” Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) said.

It would appear from the language used in the ad that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) “[in Beijing’s eyes] is not even a chief executive [of special administrative region], but the mere head of an island,” Gao said.

Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) criticized the Ma administration for “allowing China’s banks to come and take cash from us, while Taiwan’s state banks help them count the money.”

Since Ma took office in 2008, his large-scale opening up to China has led to huge capital outflows from Taiwan, Yeh said.

As of the second quarter of this year, Taiwanese listed companies have invested a total of NT$1.58 trillion (US$53.50 billion) in China, Yeh said.

Gao said the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例) prohibits advertisements promoting China’s political agenda, therefore China Construction Bank Corp should be fined for breaking the law.

The lawmaker also demanded that the Taiwanese state-run banks explain their participation in the ads.

The Bank of Taiwan said later yesterday that it was not involved with the Chinese banks trading in the Formosa bonds in Taiwan and it did not know why its name had been included in the advertisement.