Wed, Jan 19, 2005 - Page 4 News List

Students unhappy over exclusion from flights

By Joy Su  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwanese students in China yesterday said that charter flights between Taiwan and China should not be limited to serving only China-based Taiwanese businesspeople -- called taishang -- and because this would cause the "disadvantaged to become even more disadvantaged."

With direct charter flights between finally in place for the Lunar New Year, the students held a press conference in conjunction with the Consumers' Foundation to criticize the government's restrictive policy on the flights.

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) responded in a statement that the government was advancing its agenda one step at a time.

In a press release yesterday evening, it stated that "the direct cross-strait flights were not easy to come by. We hope, now that plans have been finalized, to see no more disagreement from different sectors on this matter."

But Consumers' Foundation chairman Jason Lee (李鳳翱) urged government officials to include students.

"The problem is that the long hours and expenses of travel [between Taiwan and China] are not limited to taishang only," he said.

"Students are not privileged the way taishang are," added Chen Cheng-teng (陳正騰), secretary- general of the Taiwanese Students Association in China. "Students don't have resources and connections ... [the policy] only allows the disadvantaged to become even more disadvantaged."

Chen said that establishing direct links was the only long-term solution to the problem at hand.

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