The Council of Agriculture (COA) on Wednesday said that it is seeking detailed information from Taiwanese agricultural experts working in China regarding what they are doing for the Chinese government.
The request was made in accordance with the Statute Governing the Relations Between the Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例), but is not an official investigation, COA Deputy Minister Chen Junne-jih (陳駿季) said.
The council is trying to protect Taiwan’s agricultural technology and its competitiveness in that sector, which are important factors in its negotiation of free-trade agreements with other nations, he said.
The council has sent requests to 16 Taiwanese agricultural specialists, asking for reports within 30 days on the details of their government jobs in China, Chen said.
The action follows a series of media reports several months ago on an outflow of agricultural technology to China, he said.
Chen’s comments came one day after Tsai Chih-yang (蔡志陽), one of 16 agricultural technology commissioners based in China’s Fujian Province, said that he and several other Taiwanese experts on Friday last week received a request from the council for details of their work.
In March, news reports said that China had selected 16 agricultural technology experts to work at the Development Park of Taiwanese Farmers in Fujian’s Zhangpu County.
In May, the Fujian Department of Provincial Agriculture announced that it had started a selection process to employ 100 Taiwanese specialists.
Another Taiwanese agricultural expert in Fujian said that he has been working there since 2017, but did not receive a request from Taipei to provide details about his job.
He said Tsai’s case attracted the Taiwanese government’s attention because of the media coverage it received.
China has been intensifying effort to attract talent from Taiwan’s agricultural sector by offering high salaries and benefits.
A Taiwanese agricultural expert in China, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that annual pay for such jobs ranges from 100,000 yuan to 200,000 yuan (US$14,585 to US$29,170).
However, the regulations state that Taiwanese are not to accept roles at Chinese entities such as political parties, the military or administrative bodies.
The rules also stipulate that Taiwanese in such jobs are to report their situation to authorities in Taiwan.
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