Jun 29, 2004

Taiwan: China despises Taiwan's freedom, says ex-president

China's harassment of Taiwanese businessmen has little to do with a dislike of the individuals themselves, but is instead fueled by a loathing for Taiwan's democracy and freedom
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China's harassment of Taiwanese businessmen has little to do with a dislike of the individuals themselves, but is instead fueled by a loathing for Taiwan's democracy and freedom, former President Lee Teng-hui said yesterday.

Commenting on a series of restrictive moves by China against Taiwanese businessmen and singers, Lee said at a seminar to review Taiwan's "go west" policy that China's domineering attitude "is no different from the Nazi's."

"Economic development has not stimulated China's democratization," Lee said. "China, however, is manipulating international politics by using its developing economic power."

Shortly after President Chen Shui-bian's inauguration, China's Taiwan Affairs Office said that China does not welcome Taiwanese businessmen who make money in China and support Taiwan-independence activities back home. Following the announcement, the Chinese media attacked Chi Mei Optoelectronics' chairman Hsu Wen-lung on his "pan-green" political stance, while singer Chang Hui-mei was forced to cancel a concert in Hangzhou.

Urging the people of Taiwan to unite in responding to China's harassment, Lee warned that "the Chinese authority is now throwing stones at the so-called green-businessmen and singers. It would eventually throw stones at other Taiwanese, foreigners, and even Chinese."

Lee also defended his "no haste, be patient" policy, which discouraged Taiwanese investment in China until 2001, arguing that had the policy not been implemented, Taiwan's unemployment rate would have been higher, the economy would have been weaker, and the problem of overproduction would have been worse than it is now.

He explained that Taiwanese businessmen's blind investing in China has resulted in overproduction, price wars, and an over-reliance on China's risky market.

"The optimistic argument that China could strengthen Taiwan had been proved completely wrong," he added.

Economists and some Taiwanese businessmen echoed Lee's arguments.

Lin Hsiang-kai, a professor of economics at National Taiwan University (NTU), endorsed Lee's "no haste, be patient" policy and further argued that a government should not adopt policies based on businessmen's requests but rather on the interests of the nation.

Taiwan Thinktank Chairman Chen Po-chih said that the "go west" policy has proved to be fancy dream because of China's failure to fulfill its promise to separate economics from politics.

Sharing his experience of investing in China, Lin Chih-sheng, who claimed his NT$150 million investment in China was eventually acquired by China authorities, apologized for not following the "No haste, be patient" policy, adding that he would take his case to the international court.

Forecasting Taiwan's economic development, Lee yesterday advised that Taiwanese businessmen should abandon the old methods of making profits by cutting costs, and instead adopt new means such as developing their unique capabilities.

Specifically, the government should establish "free trade port zones" allowing Taiwanese businessmen to process products from China, and push Taiwanese businessmen to establish research headquarters to upgrade industries, Lee suggested.

"China is known for using its economic power to achieve its political goals," he said, "Those who advocate democracy and freedom would always be seen as the enemy and punished by China's Communist Party."

Source: eTaiwan News