Sun, Dec 28, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Kinmen residents give `three links' the thumbs down


Residents of the outlying island of Kinmen have given the government's "three small links" policy with China a failing grade three years after its implementation, a survey released yesterday showed.

According to the poll, conducted by Ming Chuan University (銘傳), residents gave the policy a grade of 56.6 points. This was below the passing level of 60 points and even lower than the 58 points assessed last year.

Professor Fan Chung-yuan (樊中原), who coordinated the poll and interpreted the results, said that there were several reasons for the low score for direct trade, postal and transportation links between Kinmen, Matsu and China.

He said the complicated application procedures, the fact that the two islands have not been allowed to serve as transshipment centers between Taiwan and China, the conservative attitude of the central government's policy, and the small contribution of the policy to the economic development of Kinmen and Matsu are all factors. However, even though the residents flunked the policy, 45.5 percent felt that it should remain in place, showing that they still have some expectations for its success.

The poll showed that nearly 46 percent said that the "three small links" have not contributed to the economic development on Kinmen and nearly 50 percent said that once there is a direct transportation link between Taiwan and China, it will be detrimental to Kinmen's development.

On the issue of tourism, 43 percent said that Kinmen can attract Chinese tourists, although the quality of services and medical facilities should be improved. Under the current system there are three passenger vessels operating between Kinmen and Xiamen in Chinese-controlled Fujian Province four days a week with an average passenger volume of 42 percent.

The poll was conducted between Nov. 24 and Dec. 3, with 1,001 effective samples collected and carries a margin of error of 2.55 percent.

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