Fri, Jun 20, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Ma using economy as a guise to push unification: groups

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Pro-independence groups accused President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday of working for cross-strait unification under the guise of promoting economic development.

“President Ma told us that allowing more Chinese tourists into Taiwan will bring economic benefits to the country,” said Chang Hsyue-yih (張學逸), president of Northern Taiwan Society, at a press conference in Taipei.

Negative effects

“While it’s true — we must not forget that more negative effects will also come with it,” he said. “For example, it will deepen our economic dependence on China: a country that is still hostile to us.”

Chang said Ma was “aiming at ultimate unification [with China] under the guise of promoting economic development.”

Chang Yeh-shen (張葉森), president of Taiwan Hakka Society, agreed.

“Ma promised to improve the economy, but what have we seen one month into his term as president?” Chang Yeh-shen said.

“We have seen increases in utility and fertilizer prices, and then there was the surprise hike in gas prices ahead of schedule,” Chang Yeh-shen said.

Flood Vs quake

“When heavy rainfalls caused flooding in the south, Ma said he would respect the system of government and let the Cabinet handle it,” he said.

“But when an earthquake hit Sichuan [in China], Ma and the first lady were so eager to participate in fundraising activities,” he said.

Chang Yeh-shen added that the government had been too rash in negotiating direct cross-strait passenger flights and allowing more Chinese tourists that “they did not take into consideration whether too many Chinese tourists would crowd out visitors from other countries, or whether our immigration service and epidemic prevention control systems are ready for it.”

Security risks

Chen Gau-tzu (陳昭姿), secretary-general of the the Northern Taiwan Society, questioned potential security loopholes in opening airports in Hualien and Taitung for direct cross-strait flights.

Many of Taiwan’s air force bases are located in the region, separated from the rest of the island by mountains.

“Ma promised to promote economic development, but he’s apparently only interested in a protectorate economy from which only a few big corporations that have close ties with the Chinese government would benefit ,” said Tsay Ting-kuei (蔡丁貴), chairman of the Taiwan Association of University Professors.

“I’m quite worried it would only widen the gap between the rich and the poor,” Tsay said.

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