Wed, Nov 10, 2004 - Page 3 News List

MAC warns China to keep its nose out of elections

RESPECT URGED The caution from Joseph Wu came after a trip to Beijing by Hsu Hsin-liang, who is running for a seat as an independent


The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday warned China not to take measures to influence the outcome of the upcoming legislative elections, saying that no one should interfere with the workings of the nation's electoral process.

"They [Chinese authorities] understand that a democratic election has its own momentum, and they need to respect that," said MAC Chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), citing the results of the last two presidential elections.

Former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良), now seen as sympathetic to the pan-blue camp, was given a high profile reception during a recent trip to China as the head of an agricultural delegation.

Hsu met with high-ranking officials such as Taiwan Affairs Office chief Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) and Hui Liangyu (回良玉) -- the State Council vice premier in charge of agricultural affairs. He was even received at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, a venue reserved for foreign dignitaries.

It is believed that the reception accorded to Hsu was intended to sway the vote in next month's elections.

While the council was only willing to say that it was working to get all the details on Hsu's trip, there is doubt as to whether China's tactics will be successful.

"That the Central Election Commission's regulations on what a candidate can say just goes to show how democratic a nation Taiwan really is," MAC spokesman Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) said.

Hsu is running for a seat as an independent.

Aside from warning China against interfering with the elections, the council said it was not worried about the impact of the elections on cross-strait policy. With both political camps seeking a majority in the legislature, Chiu pointed out that China has probably evaluated cross-strait relations under both possible circumstances.

"China is most likely prepared for either outcome. The results probably will not lead to heightened cross-strait tensions," Chiu said.

Wu admitted, however, that he felt a pan-green majority in the legislature would allow for a greater consensus at home and further efforts toward cross-strait dialogue.

Meanwhile, Wu called for patience in efforts to resume talks, saying that domestic turmoil in China necessitated an international environment conducive to resolving recent demonstrations and protests.

According to Wu, China saw close to 60,000 protests last year. He further predicted that given measures to cool down the Chinese economy, more demonstrations would occur.

"Given the civil strife in China, Taiwan must be careful not to become an excuse for China to use force," Wu said, citing the possibility that Taiwan be used to divert attention away from domestic instability.

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