Sun, Dec 29, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Kinmen residents cool to links policy

By Lin Miao-Jung  /  STAFF REPORTER

A poll released yesterday shows that Kinmen residents gave low marks to the government's work on the small three links.

Residents gave the government a score of 58 out of a possible 100.

The reason for the failure, according to the poll, is that the central government failed to achieve the policy's three main goals: decriminalizing the small-volume trade off the Kinmen coast, facilitating construction in Kinmen and improving cross-strait relations.

The result was released yesterday by Ming Chuan University (銘傳大學), which conducted 1,068 interviews with Kinmen residents prior to the second anniversary of the implementation of the policy.

Fan Chung-Yuan (樊中原), director of the university's Graduate School of Public Affairs, said that the result should serve as a warning since 52 percent of those polled think that the policy failed to help the outlying island's economy.

Fan said 56 percent of respondents believe that small-volume trade off the Kinmen coast should not be considered a crime.

"Their attitudes reflect the difficulty of government efforts to clamp down on illegal Chinese products," Fan said.

But Pan Chao-min (潘兆民), a professor at the general education center of Tunghai University (東海大學), said one reason the policy is failing is that China has rejected allowing its residents to visit Kinmen via the small three links channel.

"The basic problem with Kinmen's economy is that China would not allow its people to visit the island. If China rejects the policy, no matter how good the construction in Kinmen is, it is useless," Pan said.

He added that since the policy took effect two years ago, the flow of visitors from Taiwan to China has allowed Xiamen to benefit, while Kinmen has not enjoyed the same kind of success since Chinese residents are not allowed to visit.

"Negotiations with China are necessary if we wish such measures to bring advantages to Kinmen residents," Pan said.

The poll showed 62 percent of those interviewed agreed capital outflow to China has been a problem since the policy was adopted.

In addition, the result showed that slightly more than half of Kinmen residents had gone to Xiamen via the ferry service between the two sides at least once in the past two years, while 42.9 percent went there for sightseeing.

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