After having property worth US$1 million stolen from his factory in Beijing in 1999, William Kao (高為邦) established an association for victims of investment fraud in China and has since dedicated himself to demanding justice for Taiwanese businesspeople based in China, known as taishang.
In order to get a picture of the real investment environment in China, Kao interviewed more than 100 taishang, recording their stories and setting out to make the non-economic risks known to those thinking of exploring the huge Chinese market.
"It is encouraging to hear the Chinese authorities say that they will offer economic favors to Taiwanese-funded firms, but people have to keep in mind that it is not always economic factors that cause so many taishang to fail in China," Kao said, responding to a series of measures Beijing recently proposed aimed at supporting taishang.
The measures include up to 30 billion yuan (US$3.9 billion) in loans to be made available by a state bank, a newly established agency for solving business disputes and a promise to meet the requests of taishang on issues such as health, education, and living services.
"These are just China's tricks. Based on my personal experiences and those of many others, pillaging taishang's property is China's real state policy," he said.
Before becoming a full-time organizer of the victims association, Kao was a successful businessman, who started a factory manufacturing glass-fiber-reinforced plastic products in the Yanjiao (
Initially everything went well, with the production line in operation and the first container-load being sent to the US within three months of the factory opening. Kao never expected that all his property would soon be stolen by his Chinese counterpart, Yue Hongjun (
"At that time, three employees were on duty in the factory, and they were helpless to prevent the 40 people from moving all the machinery equipment, materials, molds, and finished products away. They plundered everything and then began manufacturing the same products in Yue's factory," Kao said.
Kao said that his legal case has been suspended in the court, which is a situation that many Taiwanese businesspeople endure.
"As far as I know, and from interviewing more than 100 Taiwan-ese victims, very few people win their lawsuits. And those who have won the lawsuits didn't get compensation. One victim told me that the Chinese judge and governmental officials asked him to share half of the compensation with him after he won the case," Kao said.
According to government statistics, the number of cases of taishang filing complaints to Taiwan's Strait Exchange Foundation (SEF) has exceeded 1,200, and the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, the SEF's counterpart in China, has had up to 5,000 complaints filed.
"I believe that these statistics are still not a true reflection, since many taishang are warned by the Chinese Public Security Bureau not to disclose their experiences, as it is then more likely that they will get their property back," Kao said.
These cases have proved that the Law of the People's Republic of China on Protection of Investment by Compatriots From Taiwan (台灣同胞投資保護法), enacted in 1994, and its rules for implementation issued in 1999 are actually useless, he said.
"While it's true that China hasn't enacted such a law for other foreign investors, it doesn't mean that Taiwanese investors are better protected. On the contrary, foreign investors receive better protection thanks to the power that their governments have. The Taiwanese government is incapable of backing taishang," Kao said.
"I know a US citizen who was sentenced to 16 years in prison because of tax evasion problems in Shanghai. The US government not only raised its concern with China, but it also sent representatives to visit him many times while he was in prison. I don't think this would happen with taishang and the Taiwanese government," Kao said.
On the basis of these experiences, Kao said that the reason behind China proposing so many benefits for taishang is not for their protection, but for making taishang lower their guard against China's lawless society.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,
NEW CASE REPORTED: A man who returned from South Africa on a flight with the nation’s 460th and 461st cases has now tested positive for the disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that there is no need to test all arrivals to the nation for COVID-19, a policy the Executive Yuan supports. The center reported one new imported case, bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 477. The new case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who on July 25 returned from South Africa, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman. The man had returned to Taiwan on the same flight as cases Nos. 460 and 461, reported on July 27, Chuang said. On July 24,