Yuan Hongbing (袁紅冰), a Chinese democracy activist living in exile in Australia, yesterday said that signing an economic cooperation framework agreement with China would put Taiwan at risk of falling under China's “united front” (統戰) tactics.
“It's the latest policy adopted by the Chinese Communist Party [CCP] leadership at a meeting in June last year to spread their influence in Taiwan through economic means,” Yuan said. “The first step is signing an economic cooperation framework agreement with Taiwan, then a financial cooperation agreement and finally — after the CCP gains enough strength in influencing Taiwan economically and financially — a political agreement.”
Yuan made the remarks at a forum on recent cross-strait developments hosted by Citizen Congress Watch in Taipei.
Yuan told the audience that once China is in total control of Taiwan's economy and finance, “you wouldn't be in a position to reject China's political control.”
The sudden boost in the number of Chinese tourist arrivals in Taiwan may be evidence of CCP manipulation, he said.
Although Taiwan has allowed up to 3,000 Chinese tourists per day since July, the daily average last year remained low at a few hundred visitors per day. However, the number jumped to thousands per day this month.
“The number of Chinese visitors was very low during the initial phase when Taiwan first allowed Chinese tourists, but the number surged for no apparent reason recently. Have you ever wondered why?” Yuan asked.
He said the low initial numbers were because most wealthy Chinese were affected by the global recession and cut down on travel abroad.
“The situation disappointed many Taiwanese, who expected to make big money from Chinese tourism. This in turn became a problem for the CCP leadership because Chinese tourists failed to become the ‘economic saviors’ of Taiwanese,” he said.
“Judging from the fact that many of the recent Chinese tour groups were incentive tour groups paid in part by their employers in China, I suspect that the Chinese government must have put some pressure on domestic businesses to send tourists to Taiwan,” Yuan said.
Faced with Chinese aggression, Yuan said he was worried that Taiwan's hard-earned democracy could be jeopardized if Taiwanese politicians were not cognizant of what is happening and lack a Taiwan or Republic of China [ROC]-oriented political ideology.
In related news, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday criticized the government's proposal to let Chinese tourists take semi-independent trips to Taiwan, saying it put national security at risk.
Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) said yesterday the government may allow smaller Chinese groups of two or three people to travel to Taiwan to conduct in-depth tours of the country.
Current rules allow only group tours of at least five people.s.
DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) told a press conference yesterday that the proposed measure would make it hard for the government to control the flow of illegal Chinese immigrants, who may come to work, be engaged in criminal activity, or even spy for China.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀), on the other hand, said that although he agreed that some Chinese tourists might use semi-independent tours as a pretext to come and work illegally in Taiwan, he said the government could still control the situation by establishing systematic measures.