Sun, Nov 02, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Forum warns of many risks to `Fortress Taiwan'

SAFETY FEARS Panelists said that migrants, disease and the brainwashing of children were all dangers posed by increased exchanges with China

By Stephanie Wen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former deputy chairperson of the Mainland Affairs Council Wu An-chia (吳安家), yesterday warned that "a fortress is most easily attacked from inside" as an international conference concluded that increasing cross-strait exchanges pose serious risks to Taiwan's national security.

Panelists at a session on cross-strait security used the fortress analysis to examine three ways in which Taiwan is exposed to risk from China.

In terms of composition, Lin Wan-i (林萬億), professor of department of social work at National Taiwan University, said that since the government opened up social exchanges back in 1987, it had been impossible to close the floodgates. The government would be criticized as inhumane if it was to halt applications from people in China to visit their relatives in Taiwan.

While the increase of migrants from across the strait may have some benefits such as increasing the number of professionals from China and increasing birth rates, the detriments far outweigh the benefits, Lin said, adding that it is unlikely that Chinese authorities would allow professionals to come to Taiwan.

"One of the biggest problem would be the conflict in the recognition of sovereignty," Lin said. "The view that the sovereignty of Taiwan belongs to the PRC [People's Republic of China] is going to become the majority view if the number of Chinese migrants to Taiwan increases. Naturally, those who came from China are going to see the PRC as the sovereign state."

Disease was also discussed as a weak point in Taiwan's defensive walls and many participants cited the recent SARS epidemic as a case in point.

Director-General of the Center for Disease Control Su Ih-jen (蘇益仁) said that the center had done the best it could to combat the disease.

"But migrants from China, and indeed Taiwanese who travel across the strait, are highly likely to carry disease to Taiwan," he said.

"While in Taiwan, the main cause of death is chronic illnesses, in China, the main cause of death is still infectious disease such as malaria and sexually transmitted diseases," he said. "The increase of cross-strait travel would only endanger those living in Taiwan."

The mind is also another part of the fortress that is being exposed to attack, Cheng Cheng-Lung (程振隆), a Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) lawmaker, said.

Cheng raised the point that as children of Taiwanese businessmen move to China and study in China, their minds are being brainwashed.

Even if the children went to Taiwanese-organized schools, the deputy principal needed to be a Chinese citizen and schoolbooks were still subject to approval by the Chinese government, he said.

Cheng noted that where "ROC" was written, it had to be changed to "PRC;" where "Taiwan" was written, it was changed to "China- Taiwan."

The ROC's national flag and the ROC's national symbol were to be erased from the text books and the Japanese occupation of Taiwan was chastised, Cheng said.

"Imagine how brainwashed the children who go to normal Chinese schools are," Cheng said.

Academia Sinica sociologist Michael Hsiao (蕭新煌) said that as far as cross-strait issues were concerned, one needed to bear in mind the premise that Taiwan-PRC relation are a"abnormal" and that "we all need to recognize that China is hostile toward Taiwan."

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