Posts Tagged ‘Democratic Progressive Party’

Missing Taiwanese Man: China causing “anxiety and panic” over “disappeared” human rights activist — Taiwan Lawmakers Want an Accounting From China, As Mainland’s Legal System Looks To Be In Trouble

March 25, 2017

Reuters

March 25, 2017 at 17:40 JST

.

TAIPEI–China’s failure to respond on the matter of a Taiwan man missing on the mainland is causing his family “anxiety and panic”, Taiwan’s ruling party said on Saturday, as it called on authorities to protect the rights of Taiwan people.

Concern has risen on self-ruled Taiwan about the whereabouts of Lee Ming-che, a community college worker known for supporting human rights in China who disappeared on Sunday after entering China’s Zhuhai city via the coastal city of Macau.

Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said Chinese authorities had repeatedly said they would protect the rights of Taiwan people on the mainland in accordance with law.

“But after six days, there has been no official response by China to requests for consultations about the search by our government and his family,” the party said in its strongest statement yet on Lee’s disappearance.

“This has caused the family anxiety and panic,” Chang Chih-hao, a spokesman for the independence-leaning party said in the statement.

Democratic Progressive Party spokesman Chang Chih-hao speaks at a news conference in Taipei in this file photo dated January 18 this year. Photo: Su Fang-ho, Taipei Times

The party called on Chinese authorities to respond promptly to requests for cooperation and “effectively protect human rights and not increase the risk of Taiwanese people traveling to China”, Chang said.

Relations between Beijing and Taiwan have worsened in the past year, largely because Beijing distrusts the DPP, which took power last year and traditionally supports independence for Taiwan.

Beijing regards the democratic island as a breakaway province and it has never renounced the use of force to bring it back under mainland control.

Beijing cut off official communications with Taiwan after President Tsai Ing-wen took office last year. Tsai, also leader of the DPP, says she wants peace but has never conceded that Taiwan is a part of the mainland.

Taiwan’s agencies for dealing with China–its Straits Exchange Foundation and Mainland Affairs Council–have said they have been unable to raise a response from their Chinese counterparts over Lee’s case.

Rights group Amnesty International’s East Asia Director Nicholas Bequelin said Lee’s case raised questions about the safety of people working with civil society in China.

Lee had been supporting organizations and activists in China for years but went to China this time for personal matters related to mother-in-law’s medical condition, Amnesty International said.

“If Lee Ming-che has been detained, then please tell me the charges,” Lee’s wife, Lee Ching-yu, said at a news briefing on Friday organized by the Taiwan Association for Human Rights.

“But please tell her if her husband is alive or dead, where is he,” the rights group said in a statement.

From Peace and Freedom judicial analyst in China: “Many in the West may not know that much of the Beijing government has a Coterie that too frequently stretches the laws of “normal” legal behaviour. Men get kidnapped. Some get killed. Arms get broken. Wives go missing. It is much like an American mafia movie.”

*************************************

A Looming Crisis for China’s Legal System

Taipei Times

China’s failure to respond on the matter of a Taiwanese man missing in China is causing his family “anxiety and panic,” the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday, as it called on authorities to protect the rights of Taiwanese.

Concern has risen in Taiwan about the whereabouts of Lee Ming-che (李明哲), a community college worker known for supporting human rights in China who disappeared on Sunday last week after entering China’s Zhuhai city via Macau.

Chinese authorities had repeatedly said they would protect the rights of Taiwanese in China in accordance with the law, the DPP said.

“But after six days, there has been no official response by China to requests for consultations about the search by our government and his family,” DPP spokesman Chang Chih-hao (張志豪) said in the party’s strongest statement yet on Lee’s disappearance.

“This has caused the family anxiety and panic,” Chang said.

The party called on Chinese authorities to respond promptly to requests for cooperation and “effectively protect human rights and not increase the risk of Taiwanese traveling to China,” Chang said.

The Straits Exchange Foundation and the Mainland Affairs Council have said they have been unable to raise a response from their Chinese counterparts over Lee’s case.

Lee’s case raised questions about the safety of people working with civic society in China, Amnesty International’s East Asia director Nicholas Bequelin said.

Lee had been supporting organizations and rights advocates in China for years, but went to China this time for personal matters related to his mother-in-law’s medical condition, Amnesty International said.

“If Lee Ming-che has been detained, then please tell me the charges,” Lee’s wife, Lee Ching-yu (李淨瑜), said at a news conference on Friday organized by the Taiwan Association for Human Rights.

“Please tell her if her husband is alive or dead, where is he,” the rights group said in a statement.

***********************************

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The disappearance of a Taiwanese activist for human rights and democratic causes has raised fears here that he may have been detained by the Chinese authorities.

The man, Lee Ming-cheh, has not been heard from since last Sunday morning, when he boarded a flight from Taipei to Macau, according to friends and relatives. A friend went to the airport in Macau to meet him, but he never emerged from the arrivals gate, said Cheng Shiow-jiuan, the director of Taipei Wenshan Community College, where Mr. Lee is a manager.

Mr. Lee had crossed from Macau into mainland China on Sunday, but his whereabouts have been a mystery since then, Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, a cabinet-level agency that deals with China-related issues, said in recent days.

China has issued no statements about Mr. Lee.

“The fact that Lee Ming-cheh has gone missing once again raises serious questions about the safety of people working with civil society in China,” Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s East Asia director, said in a statement on Friday.

Macau, like nearby Hong Kong, is a semiautonomous Chinese territory responsible for administering its own borders and immigration. But the unprecedented spiriting away of five Hong Kong publishers to mainland China, as well as the apparent seizure of a Chinese billionaire from his serviced apartment in Hong Kong more recently, have raised concerns that China’s government no longer respects those borders.

Chiu Chiu-cheng, a spokesman for the Mainland Affairs Council, noted at a news conference on Thursday that a strict law regulating the activities of foreign nongovernmental organizations in China went into effect this year. That may have increased risks for Taiwanese people engaging with mainland Chinese involved in civil society, Mr. Chiu said.

Ms. Cheng, the director of the community college, said on Saturday that Mr. Lee had not been directly involved with civil society work in mainland China.

But she said his wife, Lee Ching-yu, had told her that he had weekly chats on Chinese social media about “some of Taiwan’s experiences with democracy and transitional justice” with mainland friends who wanted China to move in a direction similar to Taiwan’s.

Such discussions are dangerous in China, where state surveillance of the internet is pervasive and comments critical of the ruling Communist Party can draw swift punishment.

Mr. Lee met with some of those friends during visits to the mainland about once a year, Ms. Cheng said.

“It’s not any kind of formal activity; it’s just catching up with friends,” she said. She added that he also delivered donated Taiwanese books to the family of imprisoned rights lawyers in China and had planned to seek medical advice for a relative during this month’s trip.

Ms. Lee was unavailable for comment on Saturday.

Beijing views self-governed, democratic Taiwan as a renegade province that must eventually be reunited with China — by force if necessary. Some Taiwanese news outlets have speculated that Mr. Lee’s disappearance could be retribution for the arrest this month of a Chinese national accused of espionage.

Mr. Lee has long been active in pro-democratic and human rights causes. Ms. Cheng described him as a dedicated manager who had made a deep impression on others since joining the community college’s planning department in February 2016.

Torture Is China’s Useful Tool in High Confession Rate

March 21, 2017

Police say fraud probe has been made difficult because some suspects were returned to island

Staff Reporter
South China Morning Post

Monday, 16 May 16, 2016, 3:00am
 Image may contain: 1 person, standing

Thirty-two people from Taiwan who were controversially deported from Malaysia to the mainland over allegations of fraud have confessed, the public security ministry said on Sunday.

The Taiwanese and 65 other suspects who were deported on April 30 belonged to five criminal syndicates, the ministry said.

The news came as mainland police and a delegation of judicial officials from Taiwan wrapped up a three-day meeting in Zhuhai, where the suspects are being held at two detention centres.

Mainland police agreed yesterday to arrange for family members to visit the suspects.

Taiwan and Beijing have engaged in a war of words over the deportation of the suspects from Malaysia.

Beijing says the suspects are wanted for crimes committed against mainlanders and so should be deported to the mainland rather than Taiwan, while politicians in Taiwan say the move is a means of pressuring the island ahead of the inauguration of president-elect Tsai Ing-wen.

Tsai, from the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, won a landslide victory in elections in January.

I just hope those crooks will be punished so no more people will be cheated
MAINLAND CHINESE SCAM VICTIM

Mainland police said they had collected evidence against four of the criminal syndicates, but the investigation into the fifth was encountering difficulties because most of its suspected members had been sent back to Taiwan.

Twenty Taiwanese suspects deported to the island rather than the mainland were temporarily released by local police on April 16 due to a lack of evidence.

Five days later, 18 were detained again and two banned from travelling.

“The money of mainland victims is now in Taiwan. We hope the Taiwan side can actively pursue the money so we can return it to the victims,” Chen Shiqu, a senior police officer at the public security ministry, said.

Some of the scam victims were in Zhuhai to petition the Taiwanese delegation to cooperate.

Guo, 72, from Beijing, said she was cheated out of 2 million yuan (HK$2.38 million) in August and September 2015 and could no longer afford cancer treatment.

“I just hope those crooks will be punished so no more people will be cheated,” she said.

Luo, 38, from Hunan province, said that in March she was cheated out of 120,000 yuan – 60 times her monthly earnings. “I hope Taiwanese authorities can understand the pain I suffer and work with mainland police to recover our loss,” Luo said.

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/1945533/taiwanese-telecom-fraud-suspects-deported-mainland

Chinese telecom fraud suspects are escorted off an aircraft by the police at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou, capital of south China’s Guangdong province, April 30, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]

Chinese telecom fraud suspects are escorted off an aircraft by the police at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou, capital of south China’s Guangdong province, April 30, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]

Chinese telecom fraud suspects are escorted off an aircraft by the police at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou, capital of south China’s Guangdong province, April 30, 2016.[Photo/Xinhua]

Chinese telecom fraud suspects are escorted off an aircraft by the police at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou, capital of south China’s Guangdong province, April 30, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]

http://english.gov.cn/news/top_news/2016/05/01/content_281475339270998.htm

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen aims for a ‘new era’ of peace with Beijing — Only positive dialogue will work

January 20, 2017

In a letter sent to Pope Francis, she also says military action cannot resolve problems

Reuters

Friday, 20 January, 2017

Taiwan aspires to create a “new era” of peace with mainland China, which should set aside the baggage of history and have positive dialogue, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said in a letter to Pope Francis, adding military action could not resolve problems.

The issue of self-ruled and proudly democratic Taiwan has shot to the top of the international agenda since US President-elect Donald Trump broke with decades of precedent in December by taking a congratulatory telephone call from Tsai.

That, along with subsequent comments by Trump that the one-China policy was up for negotiation, has infuriated Beijing, which views Taiwan as a wayward province, to be bought under its control by force if necessary.

Mainland China is deeply suspicious of Tsai, whose ruling Democratic Progressive Party espouses the island’s formal independence, a red line for Beijing, and has cut off a formal dialogue mechanism with Taiwan.

In her January 5 letter to the Pope, released by her office on Friday, Tsai said upholding peace across the Taiwan Strait called for goodwill and communication.

“Based on many years of experience in cross-Strait negotiations during my political career, I am convinced that military action cannot resolve problems,” Tsai said.

“Taiwan and mainland China were once embroiled in a zero-sum conflict that caused tension in the region and anxiety among our peoples.

In contrast, today people on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait enjoy stable lives and normal exchanges under peaceful separate governance.”

Taiwan was committed to maintaining its democracy and the status quo of peace, but would not bow to pressure, she added.

“I urge the governing party across the Strait, together with the governing party in Taiwan, to set aside the baggage of history and engage in positive dialogue,” Tsai said.

 Pope Francis

The Vatican is one of only a handful of countries which still maintains formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, although the Pope is trying to heal a decades-old rift with mainland China where Catholics are divided between those loyal to him and those who are members of a government-controlled official church.

Tsai said she sought to live up to the Pope’s words on nonviolent action.

“As the first female president in the ethnic Chinese world, I aspire to live up to your words as I devote myself to enhancing the well-being of the Taiwanese people and creating a new era for cross-Strait peace.”

 http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2063984/taiwans-president-tsai-ing-wen-aspires-create-new-era

China considering strong measures to contain Taiwan

December 31, 2016

Reuters

Sat Dec 31, 2016 | 4:53am EST

By Ben Blanchard and Benjamin Kang Lim | BEIJING

China’s military has become alarmed by what it sees as U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s support of Taiwan and is considering strong measures to prevent the island from moving toward independence, sources with ties to senior military officers said.

Three sources said one possibility being considered was conducting war games near the self-ruled island that China considers as a breakaway province. Another was a series of economic measures to cripple Taiwan.

It was not clear whether any decisions had been taken, but the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Taiwan issue had become a hot topic within the upper echelons of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in recent weeks.

Image may contain: 1 person

Trump, due to take office on Jan 20, angered Beijing this month by speaking to Taiwan’s president by telephone, breaking decades of precedent and casting doubt on his incoming administration’s commitment to Beijing’s “one China” policy. Beijing fears this could embolden supporters of independence in Taiwan.

“If Trump challenges ‘one China’ after becoming president, this would cross our red line,” said another source, who has ties to China’s leadership.

China’s defense ministry declined to comment. An official at the ministry’s news department said China’s position was clearly laid out in the 2005 Anti-Secession Law, which authorizes the use of force against Taiwan in the event China judges it to have seceded.

Asked about any possible aggressive moves from China, Taiwan

defense ministry spokesman Chen Chung-shi said: “We are fully

prepared, and plan for the worst while preparing for the best.”

China claims self-ruled Taiwan as its sacred and inviolable territory and is deeply suspicious of President Tsai Ing-wen, whose ruling Democratic Progressive Party espouses the island’s independence. Tsai, who took power this year, says she wants to maintain peace with China, but China is unconvinced.

Image may contain: ocean, sky, water and outdoor

Chinese warships

Tsai said on Saturday that Taiwan will be “calm” when facing issues to do with China, but uncertainties next year will test the self-ruled island and its national security team.

Beijing has also been angered by a trip planned by Tsai in January to Latin America in which she will transit through Houston and San Francisco. China has urged the United States to block the stopovers.

Chinese officials have blamed Taiwan for creating trouble rather than Trump, and many of them believe he will be more accommodating to China once in office.

“We’re ready. If Taiwan wants to make trouble so can we. Let’s hit them hard,” said an official in Beijing who meets regularly with China’s most senior military officers, including those who work directly with President Xi Jinping.

“We can hold exercises close to Taiwan, and show them the damage we could cause. Taiwan will have to give in then,” the official added, citing a recent conversation with one of the military officers.

ONE CHINA POLICY

The United States is bound by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, but it’s unclear if the United States would send troops in the event of war between China and Taiwan.

Washington also acknowledges Beijing’s position that there is only one China and Taiwan is its territory.

A retired senior officer who maintains contacts with the PLA told Reuters that China probably wouldn’t need to fire any missiles to bring Taiwan to its knees. China is Taiwan’s largest trading partner, and Taiwan runs a huge trade surplus with China, worth $27 billion in 2015.

“We can just cut them off economically. No more direct flights, no more trade. Nothing. Taiwan would not last long,” the officer said. “There would be no need for war.”

In addition, any Western economic blockade of China put in place in the event of war with Taiwan would also be damaging to China, already dealing with a slowing economy.

A U.S. defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Chinese actions had been more provocative in the past month, since Trump won the U.S. election and made comments about Taiwan.

This month, a Chinese naval flotilla headed by its sole aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, took part in drills that took it around Taiwan.

Chinese air force jets have performed similar drills in recent weeks, flying close to the island, though China has officially called the air force and naval exercises routine.

China also scored a diplomatic victory when tiny Sao Tome and Principe switched recognition to Beijing from Taiwan.

(Additional reporting by J.R. Wu in Taipei and David Brunnstrom and Idrees Ali in Washington; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

Taiwan says will be calm when dealing with China, but 2017 will test national security

December 31, 2016

TAIPEI: Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen said on Saturday (Dec 31) that Taiwan will be “calm” when facing issues to do with China, but uncertainties next year will test the self-ruled island and its national security team, even as she recommitted to maintaining peace.

China is deeply suspicious of Tsai, who it thinks wants to push for the formal independence of Taiwan, a self-governing island that Beijing regards as a renegade province.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump angered China this month when he spoke to Tsai in a break with decades of precedent and cast doubt on his incoming administration’s commitment to Beijing’s “one China” policy.

Speaking at a year end news conference, Tsai said there was room to talk with China and things to talk about.

Taiwan’s pledge to maintain peace and stability has not changed and its goodwill toward China has not changed, she said, adding that Taiwan will not be pressured.

“Cross-strait relations are certainly a challenge for the people of Taiwan and for this country,” she said. “But please don’t forget that Taiwan is a sovereign independent nation.”

Relations between China and Taiwan have worsened since Tsai, who heads the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, was elected president in January, even as she has pledged to maintain peace with China.

Defeated Nationalist forces fled to Taiwan in 1949 at the end of a Chinese civil war and Beijing has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control.

A group of Chinese warships led by the country’s sole aircraft carrier carried out drills this month that took them around Taiwan and through the disputed South China Sea on their way to the Chinese province of Hainan.

China’s air force also conducted long-range drills this month, which it said was routine, above the East and South China Seas that rattled Japan and Taiwan.

Further drama looms with Tsai’s transit through the United States next month for a Latin America trip. China has called on the United States to block the transits.

Tsai said the transit was unofficial, and speculation about it “excessive”.

(Reporting by J.R. Wu; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Michael Perry)

China Upset at U.S. defence policy bill involvement with Taiwan

December 2, 2016

.

Taiwan coast guard ships

BEIJING, Dec 2 (Reuters) – China on Friday expressed concern that an annual U.S. defence policy bill suggests a plan to conduct high-level military exchanges with Taiwan, the self-governed island that Beijing sees as a breakaway province.

The $618.7 billion National Defense Authorization Act will likely come up for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives this week, and the Senate next week.

Part of the bill “expresses the sense of Congress that (the U.S. Department of Defense) should conduct a program of senior military exchanges between the United States and Taiwan”.

China has “serious concerns” about the bill and urges the United States to “scrupulously abide” by the one-China policy so as to not damage broader U.S.-China relations, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.

“China firmly opposes the United States and Taiwan carrying out any form of official contact or military exchange,” Geng told reporters at a regular press briefing.

China calls on all countries to recognise only one China, and its Beijing-based government, and not recognise Taiwan as a separate state.

Nevertheless, Taiwan and the United States have close security ties, which infuriates Beijing.

China is deeply suspicious of Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, who took office this year, as it suspects she will push for formal independence.

Tsai, who heads the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, says she wants to maintain the status quo with China and is committed to ensuring peace.

Defeated Nationalist forces fled to Taiwan in 1949 after a civil war with the Communists. China has also never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control.

(Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Related:

Singapore in Beijing’s Cross Hairs Over Taiwan Ties — “It’s getting really hard for Asian nations to balance between China and the U.S.”

December 1, 2016
November 30, 2016 — 4:00 PM EST November 30, 2016 — 9:27 PM EST
.
  • Protest over military shipment from Taiwan seen as warning
  • Beijing concerned Singapore moving too far into U.S. orbit
Singapore’s military vehicles seized in Hong Kong on Nov. 24.

Photographer: Kin Cheung/AP Photo

For decades, Singapore has walked a careful line between the U.S. and China. Now, the tiny Southeast Asian state is finding itself in Beijing’s cross hairs.

China has gone public in recent months to chastise Singapore for a perceived alignment with the U.S. against China’s actions in the disputed South China Sea. For Singapore, which the American Navy uses as a launch point for patrols of the strategic Strait of Malacca, the tensions cast doubt on its long-cherished ability to steer clear of political spats and focus on trade and investment.

The latest episode has the added wrinkle of Taiwan, which China considers its territory. Nine Singaporean armored personnel carriers were seized by Hong Kong customs last week, with the vehicles en route from Taiwan on a commercial ship after being used in training exercises. Singapore army chief Major General Melvyn Ong said the military was still seeking to ascertain the exact reason the vehicles were impounded.

While Ong said Hong Kong was a common port of call for foreign militaries and noted “there have been no issues in the past,” the shipment elicited a formal protest from Beijing, which warned Singapore to abide by Hong Kong law and the One-China principle that China uses to guide its affairs with Taiwan.

“This is not the first time Singapore ships equipment from Taiwan through Hong Kong,” said Bilahari Kausikan, an ambassador-at-large for Singapore. The fact this particular consignment was picked up shows China wants to “send a signal not only to us, but to all” Southeast Asian nations. China’s long-term strategy is to turn Singapore into an ally and “mouthpiece” for its positions, he said.

China might be seeking to gain the advantage ahead of Donald Trump’s January inauguration as U.S. president — and amid questions about the future of President Barack Obama’s military and economic “pivot” to Asia — by prodding countries like Singapore to stay out of political disputes like the South China Sea.

The spat highlights the difficulty for smaller Asian nations amid the broader tussle for regional influence between China and the U.S. Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has warned several times that the region’s nations don’t want to take sides. While countries are building economic links with China, some have also sought the buffer of strategic relations with America.

Taiwan Summit

Singapore has strong historical and cultural ties to China, since the ancestors of many residents were traders from the mainland. The late Lee Kuan Yew — the former prime minister and current leader’s father — was regarded as a conduit for China to the rest of the region. Singapore last year hosted the first summit between presidents of China and Taiwan since their civil war.

“For quite some time, Singapore has been pretending to seek a balance between China and the U.S., yet has been taking Washington’s side in reality,” China’s state-run Global Times newspaper said in an editorial on Monday. “This has turned Singapore into a platform for Washington to contain and deter Beijing.”

Singapore has strengthened military ties with the U.S. over the past year, allowing Poseidon surveillance aircraft to operate out of its territory, as well as littoral combat ships. Neither Singapore nor the U.S. are claimants in the South China Sea.

Read more: A QuickTake explainer on maritime disputes in Asia

The Global Times warned that Singapore’s actions could deal a “huge blow to bilateral ties, result in a possible adjustment to Beijing’s foreign policies and profoundly impact Singapore’s economy.” Singapore has said it wants a diplomatic solution to the maritime disputes, and for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to take a joint position.

China is Singapore’s largest trading partner, closely followed by the U.S. More than a fifth of Singapore’s gross domestic product is linked to China, according to Natixis SA. Singapore has a growing role as a gateway to Southeast Asia for President Xi Jinping’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative, which aims to revive ancient trading routes to Europe. Still, the tensions won’t necessarily hit economic ties.“The issue between Singapore and China needs to be handled between the two governments in accordance with the applicable laws and in the context of a deep and wide-ranging relationship,’’ Simon Tay, chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, said in a statement.

The military vehicles seized in Hong Kong lacked appropriate permits, and weren’t specifically declared on the ship’s manifest, the South China Morning Post reported Thursday, citing an unnamed person with knowledge of the matter. Importing undeclared cargo would be a violation of Hong Kong’s Import and Export Ordinance.

Deep Relationship

For now, Singapore is reacting cautiously. No single issue would hijack Singapore’s “longstanding, wide-ranging relationship with China,” Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said at a forum this week in Singapore, according to the Straits Times.

Singapore hasn’t said it if plans to alert or stop military training in Taiwan. It has used the island for decades, in part because of its own limited size. China’s relationship with Taiwan has deteriorated since January, when the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party swept the more conciliatory Kuomintang from power.

Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said the seizure “kills two birds with one stone by demonstrating China’s displeasure with Taiwan’s military engagement with other countries.”

The risk now is other behavior that was previously tolerated becomes a problem, said Jia Xiudong, former counselor for political affairs with the Chinese embassy in Washington.

“It’s getting really hard for Asian nations to balance between China and the U.S. when the two powers have shown growing signs of friction,” said Jia, a senior research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies under the foreign ministry. “One may have to pick a side, or at least it has to be very careful to not damage the core interest of any side.”

— With assistance by Keith Zhai, and David Roman

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-30/china-singapore-tensions-spill-into-public-view-via-customs-spat

Related:

Taiwan, China Have a “Brief Diplomatic Exchange” On The Sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting

November 21, 2016

TAIPEI — A brief exchange between representatives from Taiwan and China at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ meeting is a “positive” development for relations across the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan’s Presidential Office said on Monday.

China cut an official communications mechanism with Taiwan in June after new President Tsai Ing-wen refused to commit to the “One China Principle” that says Taiwan is part of the mainland. Beijing sees Taiwan as a breakaway province it has vowed to reclaim by force if necessary.

Taiwan has since repeatedly urged Beijing to resume talks and exchanges.

Taiwan’s envoy James Soong had what Taiwanese media described as a “friendly” exchange with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the APEC meeting in Lima, Peru, at the weekend.

“We always welcome any interaction that would help both sides understand each other without political pre-conditions,” Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang said.

Huang described the brief discussion as “a positive thing”.

“We are glad to see it,” he said.

While China’s Taiwan Affairs Office did not answer telephone calls to seek comment, Taiwan media quoted a spokesman for the policy-making body as saying the encounter was a “natural, simple exchange of greetings” in a side room at the venue.

Relations between the mainland and Taiwan have deteriorated since the island’s pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party took power in May.

APEC meetings have traditionally offered an opportunity for senior officials from Taiwan and China to meet because the group categorizes Taiwan as a member economy, although not a nation.

(Reporting by Faith Hung; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Editing by Paul Tait)

Related:

Taiwan government still confident despite decline in approval — Taiwan busy at United Nations climate conference

November 20, 2016

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The government will heed the messages conveyed by public opinion polls showing record-high disapproval for the Tsai administration, but remains confident of the policies it is proposing, a Cabinet spokesman said Saturday.

Spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung made the remarks in Kaohsiung while accompanying Premier Lin Chuan to meet with residents of Dalinpu concerning the relocation of their village.

President Tsai Ing-wen marks her first six months in office Sunday, but the latest public opinion polls have shown that the popularity of both herself and Lin have continued to decline.

“Policies and their implementation may generate controversies, but the government is confident,” Hsu said.

“We thank the public for their opinions; the government will heed them.”

Hsu noted that when Taiwan was planning the National Health Insurance (NHI) program, many people were skeptical. Because they misunderstood the policy, the government’s approval ratings in public opinion polls dropped, he said.

But after the NHI was implemented, the government’s popularity rose, he said, with the program described as a “pride” of the country.

Hsu said the government was confident that the long-term elderly care program the government was introducing would become another “pride” of Taiwan.

The program would help families ensure quality care for their elderly members, Hsu said.

He also said proposed labor law changes that would result in workers losing some public holidays would ultimately benefit both employees and employers.

The planned changes have triggered massive protests, while the Tsai administration’s bid to legalize same-sex marriage has been met with opposition from religious groups, who staged a large-scale demonstration near the Presidential Office last week.

In addition, the public agrees that a long-term care program is needed for the aging country, but many questions have been asked about the source of funding.

The government’s plan to lift a ban of food imports from areas affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan has also met with strong opposition, some from local governments controlled by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party.

Hsu said that the government would organize three new public hearings regarding food imports from Japan in early December. The hearings would be held in Taipei and Kaohsiung and broadcast live on TV and online, he said.

http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/national/national-news/2016/11/20/484462/Government-still.htm

*****************************

Chien Huei-chen (簡慧貞)

Paris, Nov. 19 (CNA) Taiwan had achieved realistic participation in the just-concluded United Nations climate conference, holding talks with over 35 countries on global climate issues even though it is not a U.N. member, an Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) official said Saturday.

Exchanges with other countries during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP22 in Marrakech, Morocco, had been smooth and free from Bejing’s intervention, Chien Huei-chen (簡慧貞), executive director of EPA’s Office of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Management, told CNA.

Chien said 12 of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies also spoke out for the country during the conference, in which Taiwan joined many activities on the sidelines.

“We participated in the event through a ‘technical approach,'” said Chien, adding that the results were more fruitful than previously thought.

As to the talks with some 35 countries, they had generated concrete and sustainable measures, Chien said.

They included a joint-calculation mechanism for carbon dioxide emissions that could be verified by third parties, she said.

In addition, the island’s state-run Taiwan Power Co., oil refiner CPC Corp., and China Steel Corp. had participated in more activities at this conference than in previous years, which Chien thinks could improve their ability to adapt to climate change.

(By Emmanuel Tseng and Lee Hsin-Yin)
ENDITEM/cs

http://focustaiwan.tw/news/asoc/201611200004.aspx

China Is Using Tourism to Hit Taiwan Where It Really Hurts — Mainland unswerving in opposing ‘Taiwan independence’

November 17, 2016

Since the 1950s, the National Cultural and Creative Gift Center, which sells traditional handicrafts to tourists in the heart of Taiwan’s capital Taipei, has been a guaranteed money-spinner. Now its managing director, Teddy Tang, casts a resigned glance over the sales charts, which show how profits plummeted by a stark 55% from April to September.

The start of the decline coincided with the May inauguration of President Tsai Ing-wen, leader of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which advocates a strong Taiwan identity and with which Beijing has frozen relations. For the ensuing five months, the number of mainland Chinese tourists to Taiwan fell by 27.2% year on year. From Oct. 1 to 18, traditionally a popular season for mainland tourists, the shortfall hit a startling 47.8%.

Tang, like many in the tourism industry, cannot conceal his worry about the drop in Chinese tourist numbers and his falling profits.

“There is a direct link between the two,” he says. Last week only a small scattering of tourists browsed through the jade artifacts, calligraphy paintings and handmade vases in the four-story shop. “The Chinese are the ones who purchase the most. They buy a wide range of things that are based on Chinese culture,” says Tang. “Other tourists, like the Europeans and Americans, only buy small objects.”

The store’s sales slump is reflected in the tourist industry across the country, where hotels, bus companies, restaurants and tour guides are suffering. Taipei has accused China of turning off the flow of its financially lucrative tour groups after Beijing, which views Taiwan as a renegade province, cut official contacts with President Tsai over her refusal to publicly endorse the so-called 1992 Consensus. Though there are different interpretations of what it would mean, that consensus, forged by Taiwan’s previous Kuomintang (KMT) government, crucially acknowledges that there is “one China.”

TAIWAN-CHINA-POLITICS
Sam Yeh—AFP/Getty ImagesTaiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, center, gestures during National Day celebrations in front of the Presidential Palace in Taipei on Oct. 10, 2016. Relations with Beijing have deteriorated under Taiwan’s first female President, whose China-skeptic party, the DPP, took office in May after a landslide victory over the KMT

Francis Hu, head of political science at Taipei’s Tunghai University, says the tourism industry is particularly vulnerable to Chinese political pressure as Beijing has little to lose. “It’s part of the grand strategy of tightening the screws on Taiwan,” he says. “Beijing wants the Tsai administration to make concessions on the 1992 Consensus.”

Chinese citizens require permission from their government to go to Taiwan, making it easy for Beijing to both squeeze the numbers and deny that it is doing so. China blames a horrific bus crash in Taipei in July, caused by a suicidal driver, and killing 24 Chinese tourists, as a major reason for the decline.

Tang’s store has invested in online sales to cushion the blow, but others are struggling to cope. On Sept. 12, up to 10,000 tourism industry workers protested in heavy rain, holding signs saying, “No Jobs, No Life!” and “We Need to Survive.” They blamed Tsai, not Beijing for their woes.

“The government should say yes to the mainland,” said a frustrated hotel owner from Taitung in southeastern Taiwan who called herself Ms. Yang. “We just want to feed our families!”

Ringo Lee, spokesman for the Travel Agent Association, says millions of jobs depended on the business generated by mainland tourists. “So many companies have been impacted. Many tour guides and bus drivers lose their jobs, many restaurants and hotels have closed,” he says. Lee says that his own high-end tour company, TaiwanXing, has suffered 70% losses and jobs may be on the line.

However, not everyone is unhappy. Many see the crisis as an opportunity to reform an industry too dependent on Chinese tour groups that slash prices so much that local operators can barely make a profit anyway. Others are simply relieved that the crowds have gone. Last year, residents of the pretty southern town of Sizihwan threatened to seal themselves off after being swamped by some 4,000 mainland tourists a day.

General Economy Ahead Of Taiwan Presidential Election
Bloomberg/Getty ImagesTourists take photographs using smartphones outside the Taipei 101 building in Taipei on Jan. 13, 2016

This summer, when numbers began to fall, wry Taiwanese netizens created a spoof ad campaign that featured photos of tourist hotspots with the caption, “Without Chinese tourists, it’s now possible to relax in the most popular destinations.” It was denounced in China as bigotry.

For Claudius Petzold, a German professor at Taipei’s Fu Jen Catholic University who worked as a tour guide for five years, the problem lies not with the Chinese, but with mass tourism on a small island already crowded with 23 million people. Petzold became frustrated with hotel discounts only being offered to Chinese groups, and with tour buses dangerously clogging narrow roads and ruining beauty spots.

“They opened [Taiwan] up too fast, only counting on a small margin with mass tourism, and the island is too small,” he says.

The tourism downturn is an additional economic headache for the Tsai administration, which inherited a weak economy with low and stagnating wages, increasing income inequality and languishing exports. The government has identified technology start-ups, investment opportunities in infrastructure and software development, and recruiting foreign talent as key to stemming the economic slide. It recently announced a $9.5 million emergency fund to boost the tourism sector. The Tourism Bureau has pledged to ease visa processes and create slick marketing campaigns.

Longer term, the government hopes to attract more Southeast Asian tourists through its “southbound” policy to forge better economic ties with regional neighbors. Tourists from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam increased by 19.8% in September.

Still, industry chiefs prefer the easier option of mass Chinese tourism to the effort of tapping into new markets. “It’s such a hard job,” says Lee of the Travel Agent Association. “We had to do it 10 years ago with China, and now we have to start all over again.”

Source: http://time.com/4574290/china-taiwan-tourism-tourists/

*************************

Mainland unswerving in opposing ‘Taiwan independence’

China’s policy of coercion

CCTV.com

11-17-2016 10:51 BJT

A spokesperson has reiterated that the Chinese mainland will not waver in resolutely opposing and containing separatist activities seeking “Taiwan independence”.

Ma Xiaoguang, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, gestures at a regular press conference in Beijing, capital of China, Nov. 16, 2016. (Xinhua/Chen Yehua)

Ma Xiaoguang, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, gestures at a regular press conference in Beijing, capital of China, Nov. 16, 2016. (Xinhua/Chen Yehua)

Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said no force can block the historic steps toward national reunification and rejuvenation. He said the Chinese Mainland will not change its sincerity and goodwill toward improving and developing cross-Strait relations.

A recent survey released by the Taiwan Competitiveness Forum shows 52 percent of respondents on the island identify themselves as Chinese. And, about 86 percent believe they are part of the Chinese nation. 

Includes video: http://english.cctv.com/2016/11/17/VIDEXUUsbBe7rDI5ArgeYlZG161117.shtml