Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Taiwanese Businessmen Forced to Attend Lien-Hu Lovefest in China

Lien Chan is meeting President Hu of China beginning on Friday, ahead of Hu's trip to the US. The CCP and the KMT could hardly be more open about their cooperation. Taiwan News observes of the meeting:


Thanks to the enthusiastic participation by the KMT, the forum also provides Hu with ample ammunition in his upcoming summit with United States President George W. Bush on April 20 to blame the continuation of the cross-strait stalemate on the "unilateral refusal" of President Chen and the DPP government to engage in cross-strait talks.

Naturally, Hu will make little or no mention of the PRC's imposition of the precondition of Taipei's prior acceptance of Beijing's "one-China" principle, and thus the political surrender of our sovereignty, in exchange for the resumption of the suspended quasi-official consultations.

Despite Washington's repeated calls for the Beijing leadership to talk to Taiwan's duly-elected government and its leader, the PRC government insists on bypassing the DPP administration and dealing with only with their former foes and newfound allies in the opposition pan-KMT camp, whose power-hungry leadership is more than happy to accept Beijing's arrogant precondition.

This is a pretty good reading of what will happen. The Taipei Times reports that the regime is forcing Taiwanese businessmen in China to attend the Lien-Hu Lovefest:

China is forcing Taiwanese businesspeople to attend an economic summit between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), a top Mainland Affairs Council official said yesterday.

Council Chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) confirmed yesterday that Taiwanese businesspeople are being pressured to attend a two-day forum on cross-strait trade to be held by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) that opens on Friday. Wu urged the KMT not to touch on issues that involve governmental authority.

The Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times' sister newspaper) reported yesterday that the Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) of China's State Council had issued an order to the heads of more than 80 Taiwanese business associations in China to attend the forum.

The office warned that failure to comply would result in stiff penalties, the report said.

The office has also ordered Taiwanese businesses nationwide to mobilize in Xiamen and Shanghai to greet former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) when he tours those cities before heading to Beijing for the forum, the report said.

Before you all wax indignant at the odious Chinese forcing Taiwanese businessmen to kow-tow to the insufferable loser Lien Chan -- think Beijing will make them address Lien as "President?" -- take a moment and think about what a wonderful development this is. For the first time, the Chinese government is extracting a serious nationwide political price for permitting Taiwanese businessmen to operate in its territory. And it is doing so in a way that has created entirely unnecessary negative feelings:

The Liberty Times report said that many of the associations are angry that they
are being coerced to participate in what they called a meaningless event.

Nothing could demonstrate with greater clarity what China is, and convince Taiwan businessmen that they cannot ignore political issues and operate in China, because China is too caught up its own nationalist expanionism to keep itself from spanking the goose that lays the golden eggs. This alone will not cause the million-odd TaiShang to re-evaluate their investments, their factories, and their second wives. It is, however, the first of many such events that in the long run can only harm China's cause with the very people who support it the most, and the most effectively: the Taiwanese businessmen in China. Today there must be more than one association chief in China scratching his head, wondering what price they will have to pay in the future.

And all because it wants to pretend in front of its own people, in the best Inspector General style, that Lien Chan is really somebody.

UPDATE: ESWN carries the Chinese side of the story, in which Xinhua cites Taiwan businessmen as saying that the story that they were forced to come was laughable. "How can they be punished?" one respondent asked. You'd have to be extraordinarily naive not to be able to answer that question! But the Xinhua story seems plausible too.

16 comments:

Tim Maddog said...

You analyzed:
- - -
[I]t wants to pretend in front of its own people, in the best Inspector General style, that Lien Chan is really somebody.
- - -

That would make Lien "the Emperor's New BFF"! ;-)

Sun Bin said...

"The Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times' sister newspaper) reported yesterday that the Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) of China's State Council had issued an order to the heads of more than 80 Taiwanese business associations in China to attend the forum."

I am interested in how the 'order' is worded. If it has been issued to 80 associations, I am sure you (or liberty times) can find the original text? and there must be 'quotes' and copies from that 'order'?

Michael Turton said...

Is there some reason to doubt this story? I mean, Liberty Times, unlike Apple Daily, doesn't usually make stuff up. This happened last year when Grandpa Lien went to Shanghai, didn't it, and the local taiwan businessmen got an order to kow-tow.

Michael

Sun Bin said...

since you have linked to TT, i do not know what exactly was said.

and yes, there is reason to doubt the translation of 'order'. it sounds very strange that business association would be ordered to do something.

is there any reason to be uncritical? :) i doubt apple daily as much as liberty times, china times.

Michael Turton said...

But Sun, the Chinese have done this once before, when Grandpa Lien visited China. There's no reason that I know of to doubt this story -- it's consistent with earlier behavior and it is from the MAC. Being skeptical doesn't mean being reflexively rejecting.

BTW, I'm having a lot of trouble with Blogger today. Are you?
Michael

Frank said...

The Liberty Times story sounds plausible enough to me even though it could have done better. It says the heads of all 80-plus taiwanese business associations are attending. I would doubt these people will have so much enthusiasm for a Lien-Hu forum unless (1) they are threatened with punishment or (2) they can expect more business opportunities from a schmooze factor with the bigwigs there. The report also says some of the businessmen in remote areas have to travel for days to attend the forum. The incentives for such a big effort have got to be real big.

If the report is not true, Sun Bin, all that Beijing needs to do is send out a press release denying it. But I doubt they really give a damn what the Daibaos (dumb compatriots) are saying. No, they are just a bunch of subhuman splittists.

Sun Bin said...

@frank
just to be clear, the burden to prove is on the media, esp when it failed to list any evidence. (I am not sure that is true, since i have not read the original article)

all you quoted is your speculation, there could be a lot more plausible reasons. e.g. many of the businessmen are pan-blue, some (non-blue) may act based on business interests. the logic that it must be 'forced upon' is quite weeak.

@michael,
LOL. "there is no reason to doubt" isn't that reflective? anyway, is there is similar evidence last year (which i am not aware of), e.g. quotes/copy from the notice, i am interested to see as well.

now the reason i doubt TT's translation, and its truncation of information: see the comments under the post here
http://jujuflop.yule.org/2006/03/22/de-jure-independence
and compare how TT's mis-translated what Lee Jye said with his original in Chinese.

i do not doubt CCP's intention and that it might have use various means to achieve its objective. but issuing an "order" to Business Association and threaten with retribution on paper just sounds too stupid to be true.

yes, i think there is trouble with blogger, from time to time.

frank said...

Sun Bin said...

just to be clear, the burden to prove is on the media,

My response:

True, Taiwanese media is not exactly a model of professionalism and good ethics. But there's another side to the issue, namely how the government views and handles dissenting media. In a place where a newspaper supplement could be shut down for expressing dissent, people would have worries about talking to the media and rumors are bound to fly everywhere. No? You can dismiss the reports in Falun Gong sponsored media with a wave of the hand, but they'll follow you like a shadow in a society where the media is not free to operate and dissent is not tolerated.

Michael Turton said...

LOL. Sun Bin, the TT correctly presented the words of Li Jye, and then summarized them as saying that the officers wanted a coup. That is entirely correct, their motive was to bring down the government.

And we still have nothing from you on why we should doubt this story. Yes, it does sound stupid, but then we are talking about an authoritarian state that has already done this once already.

Michael

Sun Bin said...

what do you want me to provide? :D

a statement saying this is untrue? i am not the government nor do i know if this is true or not. all i asked for is the original text that Wu allegedly claimed has seen.

shavenpope said...

Notice how Sun Bin only demands proof when the media is carrying a story that casts Beijing in a negative light? All the anti-Taiwan, anti-democracy and anti-TI rhetoric spewed by the pro-Beijing press passes by unremarked and unmolested.

You can't fool all of the people all of the time.

Sun Bin said...

shavenpope,

please quote example, instead of dodging question.

shavenpope said...

Excuse me, but what question is it that I'm supposedly dodging?

Sun Bin said...

the other side of the story. some names and sources are quoted here, i will keep an open mind and be doubtful of whatever without a source or real name. but note this report is probably also biased.

Sun Bin said...

the report listing why there is no need to 'co-erce' or 'order', as there is only one quota for each association and there must be one who put self interests (meeting important people) above ideology.

the controversial word, according to this report, is "不得请假", meaning "(once committed), one cannot be excused (e.g. due to sickness or other matters".
it can be interpreted as one way to ensure the quota is not wasted, it can also be interpreted as one kind of coercion.

the author's opinion is that it is the former, because such 4 characters appears in most of the mainland communiques.

Sun Bin said...

here is another interview.

"一位本身从事科技业的会长则低调地表示,原则上主办单位是希望会长们不要请假,「如果真的有事不能去的话,希望能派副会长或常务理事代表前往」。

  他说,大家在大陆都是台商,基本上并不愿涉及政治,但话说回来,北京毕竟是中央机关,「到北京可以结识一些关系,对台商们要发展在大陆的事业或多或少会有帮助」。这位十三日傍晚就要飞到北京的会长表示,既然是争取台商权益的论坛,「能够在会场直接向官方提出呼吁,总是一件好事」。 "

it seems it is more carrot than the alleged 'stick'.