Sun, Jan 26, 2014 - Page 3 News List

INTERVIEW: China influencing Taiwan via firms: expert

Wu Jieh-min, a researcher at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Sociology, has said in the past that he has applied the concept of “cross-strait political and commercial alliances” to denote the increasing buildup of political and business links across the Strait, and to warn of transactions involving the trade of political power for financial gain. In a recent interview with Tzou Jiing-wen, a staff reporter with the ‘Liberty Times’ (the sister paper of the ‘Taipei Times’), Wu said that the Chinese Communist Party is using these alliances to leverage its influence on Taiwan’s internal politics

Wu: Currently, regarding cross-strait capital, our policies on Chinese companies come under “specialized” provisions. This results in opening up opportunities for rent-seeking, that is the extension of business transactions for the elites with special privileges. Because the provisions are “specialized,” it allows the transactions between political powers and capital to become more convenient. Due to this, the people who manipulate their access to political power and wealthy business classes are increasingly displaying an “it’s a natural course for us” attitude, and speaking words to the effect of: “If you don’t like it, what can you do about it?”

Getting to the root of the matter, we should apply the same standards to all “foreign source capital.”

There should not be any “specialized” provisions for Chinese companies, but rather all flows of capital in and out of the country should be sensibly regulated and controlled. We should heed the advice of Lai Chung-chiang (賴中強) of the Democratic Front Against Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement, who has advocated for strict regulation of “any major investment which originates from other foreign governments into Taiwan to conduct business with strong influence and political controlling power.”

Also, our government must apply stringent measures and scrutiny for highly sensitive industries, job opportunities for the underprivileged groups, safeguarding of social stability, protective mechanism for our democratic system, autonomy of cultural development and so on. The government must not ruin our society because of “trade liberalization.”

For the free economic pilot zone initiative, the government should also apply the same standards.

I must say that these cross-strait political and commercial alliances are now in control of our country. Under the current system, why not just change the name of the Act Governing the Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the People of the Mainland Area to the “act governing the cross-strait political power and business relations?”

This is a loathsome legal package, which encourages rent-seeking activities to benefit the wealthy, while creating opportunities for power and business corruption. It must be abolished.

Translation by Jason Pan, staff writer

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