Sun, Jul 21, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Beijing measures ineffective: academics

‘31 INCENTIVES’:Taiwanese in China might only see the grandeur short-term, but long-term, they would see how freedoms are deprived and activities watched, a professor said

By Chung Li-hua  /  Staff reporter

Despite vigorous promotion, Beijing’s “31 incentives” to attract Taiwanese businesses and professionals have only had a limited effect on Taiwan, Taiwanese academics said yesterday.

Statistics released yesterday by China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) showed that the number of Taiwanese visiting China last year surpassed 6 million, an increase of 4.58 percent from 2017.

However, that percentage represents only marginal growth over the 4.53 percent increase from 2016 to 2017, and significantly lower growth than the 14.65 percent increase from 2009 to 2010.

Last year, about 6.14 million Taiwanese businesspeople, students and workers traveled to China, TAO statistics showed.

The TAO claims that the measures are meant to offer “Taiwanese compatriots” a sense of satisfaction and honor. Its measures have so far targeted 80 provincial, regional or city locations.

“Fujian residents are insured socially and medically — that’s how Taiwanese residents will be insured. We are one family in every sense of the word,” Fujian Province Governor Yu Weiguo (于偉國) said at a news conference in Beijing yesterday.

A China News Service report yesterday said that the Chinese government in the first half of this year approved 2,468 opportunities in China in which Taiwanese can invest, and that Taiwanese investment reached about US$980 million.

However, figures released by the Ministry of Economic Affairs showed that remittances by Taiwanese firms operating in China had as of yesterday exceeded NT$452 billion (US$14.56 billion).

Chinese statistics are often tweaked a bit to serve as propaganda, Chien Hsin University of Science and Technology professor Yen Chien-fa (顏建發) said yesterday, adding that the TAO statistics support that the measures have been ineffective.

According to statistics released by the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, the number of Taiwanese who in 2017 pursued a career in China totaled about 405,000 — a 10-year low — suggesting that the number last year could have been much less than 400,000.

About 60 percent of Taiwanese have never visited China, most of whom are young people, said Lin Wen-cheng (林文程), professor at National Sun Yat-sen University’s Institute of China and Asia-Pacific Studies.

This has led Chinese authorities to hold summer camps and free tours targeting first-time visitors, which they claim allow Taiwanese to witness the “greatness of the motherland,” Lin said.

While people going to China for a short stay might be deceived by its grandeur, living there long-term would show them how their freedoms are deprived and their activities watched, Lin said, adding that Taiwanese would likely have a difficult time adapting to those conditions.

That is the main reason that Beijing’s measures promoted as “incentives” have not encouraged more Taiwanese to go and work there, Lin added.

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