Taiwanese Protest Cross-Strait Free-Trade Talks
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TAICHUNG, Taiwan—Under heavy security, Chen Yunlin, China’s top envoy to Taiwan, arrived in Taichung for free-trade talks on Dec. 21. Ten thousand demonstrators had marched through the streets the previous day protesting “under-the-table talks.”
Chen came to Taiwan for the fourth round of informal talks with the current Ma Ying-Jeou administration regarding the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA). The agreement proposes a free flow of various industrial products, services, and capital between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.
“We want to move down the road of peace,” Chen said shortly after his arrival, according to an AP report.
But the opposition believes the ECFA would result in a shift of resources and production activity from Taiwan to China, where production costs are significantly lower. It would encourage manufacturing industries to move out of Taiwan more quickly, prompting an increase in unemployment.
Opposition Sees Hidden Political Agenda
Opposition leaders are concerned that Beijing is hiding a political agenda for unification with Taiwan inside its economic agreement.
According to exiled Chinese law professor Yuan Hongbing’s new book, “Taiwan Disaster,” Beijing views the demonstration of a successful democratic society in Taiwan as the biggest threat to maintaining its dictatorship in the mainland.
The regime’s plan to counter Taiwan’s example, Yuan asserts, is through a strategy of unifying the market and financial systems of the mainland with those of Taiwan. Beijing wants to achieve its political endgame of gaining control through economic unification with Taiwan.
Protesters Demand Transparency in Talks
Protesters in the Sunday (Dec. 20) march, which was organized by the anti-China Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), demanded transparency in the talks. DPP Chair Tsai Ing-wen called on the Legislative Yuan (Taiwan’s unicameral legislature) to supervise the ECFA process.
Speaking at the rally, Yuan said, “When Taiwan loses its economic independence, what will be left of Taiwan’s freedom? … Beijing’s good gesture is only for political show—in essence, a lie.”
Many Taiwanese Falun Gong practitioners were present to remind the crowd that mainland China has carried out a 10-year campaign of genocide against the peaceful spiritual practice of Falun Gong. They displayed banners announcing the news that five former and current regime leaders have been charged with genocide in a Spanish court.
Taipei City Councilor Chuang Ruei-hsiung said the current persecution of Falun Gong is a warning to the people of Taiwan.
“If the communist regime is so brutal to its own people in the mainland, there is no way it will treat the people of Taiwan well.”
Read the Original Chinese Article.