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Wed, Aug 08, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Businessmen make renewed attempt to join groups with communist links

INVESTORS Business associations have made further requests to the president to allow them to attend China's National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference

By Tsai Ting-I  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan businessmen investing in China made further efforts yesterday to persuade the government to allow them to join official People's Republic of China (PRC) organizations in a meeting held by the Economic Development Advisory Confer-ence's (EDAC) cross-strait affairs panel in Taipei.

About 30 presidents of Taiwan businessmen's associations from all over China were invited to the meeting and made requests relating to cross-strait issues. The businessmen urged the government to scrap the "No haste, be patient" policy, and to establish direct postal, shipping and air links -- the so-called "Three Links" -- with China as soon as possible.

They also called for a lifting of the ban on Taiwanese businessmen's attendance at China's National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. Attendance at such gatherings is open only to elite members of the Chinese Communist Party.

The issue was raised by Hsieh Kun-tsung (謝坤宗), chairman of the Taiwanese Merchant Investment Association in Beijing, who believes that a lifting of the ban would help enhance Taiwan businessmen's interests in China.

"To help Taiwan businessmen secure greater advantage in China, Taiwan's government should allow them to join China's official organizations by modifying the Statute Governing the Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area," Hsieh said.

Most of the businessmen present agreed with Hsieh's remarks, and urged the government to explain the national security concerns behind the current ban.

"The government refused our requests because of national security, but can they explain what the national security concerns are? Otherwise, the government should not obstruct the upgrading of Taiwan businessmen's political positions in China," said Ho Hsi-hao (何希灝), president of the Taiwan Merchant Investment Association in Zhangzhou (漳州).

Hsu Chun-ta (許俊達), president of the Taiwan Merchant Investment Association in Fuzhou, said, "This would be another channel for Taiwan businessmen to communicate with China's government."

Under the statute, Taiwanese individuals and organizations are not allowed to work for PRC citizens or organizations in China.

Many of those present at the meeting referred to President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) statement at the EDAC's opening ceremony that, "No matter what conclusions the conference comes to, the executive yuan does not have the right to refuse to follow them." They said that they hoped President Chen's promise would be adhered to.

Yei Chun-jung (葉春榮), president of the investment association in Dongguan (東莞), argued that the government had ignored their requests for a long time and simply offered national security as an excuse.

"If the National Security Bureau isn't ready for the lifting of these restrictions, then we should stop discussing the matter. I hope that there will be some improvement after the EDAC, otherwise this is just another drama cheating the Taiwan public," Yei said.

The EDAC's cross-strait affairs panel hosted three meetings in Hualien, Taichung and Kaohsiung to gather opinions from local businessmen last Sunday. Most attendees at the three meetings made the same requests as the businessmen did yesterday.

Tsai Ying-Wen (蔡英文), chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council, did not respond to the requests yesterday, but said that she would do so after the panel had reached a conclusion on the requests.

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