President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday urged China to remove political prerequisites from cross-strait exchanges after renowned Taiwanese baker Wu Pao-chun (吳寶春) faced calls for a boycott when he identified himself as a “baker born in Taiwan, China,” apparently for fear of being branded an independence supporter.
Tsai said she does not blame Wu, but the “serious matter” underscores China’s political distortion of economic and trade activities.
“The situation exists not only in our everyday lives, but also around the world. It is a matter of shared concern with the international community, but Taiwan is standing on the front lines and should be particularly alert to it,” Tsai told reporters at the Presidential Office in Taipei.
Photo: Chang Chung-yi, Taipei Times
Taiwanese have time and again given standard statements due to perceived coercion, Tsai said.
“All Taiwanese know what is going on and that it is political suppression, which will neither be accepted by the people of the nation nor the world,” she said.
Such threats have caused cross-strait relations to backslide, Tsai said, urging Beijing to remove political prerequisites so that both sides of the Taiwan Strait could engage in “normal and healthy” interactions.
The president made the remarks one day after Wu in a statement rejected speculation that he supported Taiwanese independence, saying that while Taiwan is the land that nurtured him, he was born in “Taiwan, China” and is “proud to be Chinese.”
Wu said he adheres to the idea that “both sides of the Strait belong to the same family” and supports the so-called “1992 consensus.”
Former Mainland Affairs Council minister Su Chi (蘇起) in 2006 admitted making up the so-called consensus in 2000, which refers to a tacit understanding between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge that there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.
Wu last week in Shanghai held a soft opening for his first shop in China, but met with criticism from Chinese netizens who accused him of saying that he would “rather starve to death than [bring his brand] to China.”
Wu in his statement denied having ever said that.
He issued another statement after the first one sparked outrage in Taiwan, in which he said he is only a bakery owner and is not equipped to resolve cross-strait problems.
Hopefully, his bread could become “an ambassador for cross-strait exchanges,” he added.
Kaohsiung mayor-elect Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) yesterday supported Wu at a news conference in the city, calling on Taiwanese to support and cherish the world-renowned baker.
“Both sides of the Taiwan Strait have their differences of opinion. I hope people on both sides could help, protect and give their blessings to a simple businessman who wishes to develop his business without becoming too involved in politics,” Han said, adding that there is no need to repeatedly state ideologies.
Wu declined to elaborate on his decision to issue the statements, only saying that he is simply a professional baker who has endeavored to befriend and inspire the younger generation.
Han’s office said the mayor-elect decided to attend the news conference to support local businesses, put aside politics and focus on economic growth.
Wu rose to fame after he won the title of Bakery Master in the bread category at the 2010 Bakery World Cup in Paris.
SPY GAMES: For more than 20 years, intelligence officers traveled to China, where they identified other MIB personnel and allegedly traded secrets for money and gifts The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday indicted four retired Military Intelligence Bureau (MIB) officials, who are accused of providing China with a list of bureau personnel and other classified materials while attempting to recruit colleagues into a spy network in Taiwan. Prosecutors charged Chang Chao-jan (張超然), Chou Tien-tzu (周天慈) and Wang Ta-wang (王大旺), former colonels at the bureau, and Yueh Chih-chung (岳志忠) — a former major general and chief of the MIB’s Fifth Bureau, where he was in charge of sending agents to China on covert assignments — with breaches of the National Security Act (國家安全法) and the National Intelligence Services
MAKING A MOVE: Starting on Monday, short-term business travelers can apply for shorter quarantine periods, while transits of up to eight hours would be allowed The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced an easing of restrictions that would from Monday next week allow foreigners to visit or make a transit flight in Taiwan. A policy allowing short-term business travelers from countries with low or medium risks of COVID-19 infections to apply for shorter quarantine periods is also to resume that day. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that while the autumn-winter COVID-19 prevention program is to be extended after the end of this month, special conditions for foreign nationals to enter Taiwan would be restored from Monday. Foreign nationals
CONTINUED VIGILANCE: People would still be required to wear masks at eight types of public spaces and border controls would continue, Chen Shih-chung told reporters The government’s autumn-winter COVID-19 prevention program is to continue beyond Sunday, but eating and drinking on high-speed trains would be allowed from Monday, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that while there were no new confirmed cases in Taiwan yesterday, the global COVID-19 situation remains serious, so the autumn-winter COVID-19 prevention program would be extended beyond its Sunday deadline. “Border control measures, including requiring a negative polymerase chain reaction test result obtained within three days of boarding a plane to Taiwan, and undergoing quarantine in a
MORE RISK? Three Taiwanese family members were found to have the Brazilian variant, which CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo said might be more infectious From Wednesday, all travelers who have been in Brazil in the past 14 days are required to be quarantined at a centralized facility after arriving in Taiwan and undergo a COVID-19 test upon ending quarantine, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that starting from 12am on Wednesday, all travelers arriving from Brazil, including those who have transited through the country in the past 14 days, would have to stay at a centralized quarantine facility. “They will be tested for COVID-19 upon completing the 14-day quarantine, and they