Researchers at Chinese universities and think-tanks have called on the government to use economic sanctions to cripple Taiwan's economy in a bid to snuff out moves towards independence, state media said yesterday.
The China Daily quoted Xu Bodong, director of the Institute of Taiwan Studies at Beijing Union University, as saying that "severe punishment" should be used to stop a Taiwanese break with China.
"It is high time that we should mobilize all resources, including economic measures, to crack down on pro-independence forces," Xu said.
He added that many Chinese researchers wanted to see tougher action.
The political leanings of Taiwanese doing business in China were brought into question last month when the founder of one of the largest plastics groups was attacked in the People's Daily for his close ties with President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).
Beijing has previously said that businessmen who support independence were not welcome in China.
But as cross-strait relations have plummeted in recent months, largely on the back of China's response to Chen's campaign for re-election, economic ties have continued to grow.
The report noted that Taiwanese investors have so far funded more than 70,000 projects in China, with contracted investment of more than US$80 billion .
It said that China, together with Hong Kong, bought 34.5 percent of Taiwanese exports last year, becoming Taiwan's biggest export market.
The newspaper quoted a report by Wang Jianmin, a researcher with the Institute of Taiwan Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, who said that an economic blockadewould lead to paralysis within two months.
"If the mainland decided to impose an economic sanction against Taiwan such as limiting or even banning imports from the island, Taiwan's overseas trade sector would be the first to suffer and see a one-third drop in its exports," Wang said.
"Then the manufacturing and production sector would be hit causing mass shutdowns among these firms and a major economic recession," he said.
China's Vice Commerce Minister Ma Xiuhong (馬秀紅) said last week that the rights of Taiwanese investors would be protected, even as the government remained "firmly opposed" to those seeking to do business here while pushing for independence.
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