The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) called on Beijing yesterday to refrain from pressuring Taiwanese businesspeople operating in China and to stop using them as political tools for its own purposes.
MAC Vice Chairman You Ying-lung (游盈隆) was responding to a joint statement, issued a day earlier by the heads of nine Taiwanese business associations in Zhejiang Province, urging Taiwan to forego referendum proposals on its bid to join the UN.
You said that when China enacted its "Anti-Secession" law targeting Taiwan in March 2005, it had mobilized Taiwanese businesspeople who were known to be hardcore supporters of the pro-unification pan-blue camp to sign up to support the law.
"China has done it again," You said.
It is believed that a "deep blue" head of the Taiwanese business association initiated the statement, with the endorsement of the Zhejiang provincial government.
You said that "such an endeavor is inappropriate," adding that the heads of Taiwanese business associations "have to bow and sign up under pressure," which he said "runs counter to their free will" and is "regrettable."
You said the MAC would try to determine whether this was an isolated incident or if it had taken place in other provinces across China before deciding how respond. The MAC later issued a press release to address the statement issued by the Taiwanese business leaders. The MAC urged China to stop squeezing Taiwan businesspeople operating there and to carry out its promise to protect the rights of Taiwanese businesspeople.
The MAC said that although Beijing had spoken of peace and development in its recently concluded party congress, it has again used such approaches as political division and economic incentives to pressure Taiwanese businesspeople to support Beijing's stance.
The MAC said that since Taiwan began to promote its bid to join the UN under the name "Taiwan," Beijing had conveyed its political stance through various economic activities and had now blatantly pressured Taiwan businesspeople to side with China.
China should learn more about the mainstream view of Taiwanese society and the fact that China and Taiwan are independent of each other. It should not equate Taiwan's UN bid with seeking "de jure Taiwan independence," which China could use as a pretext to launch a military attack, the press release said.
The statement by the Taiwanese business leaders was only the latest incident in the cross-strait row over Taiwan's UN bid.