Fri, Mar 23, 2012 - Page 1 News List

Opening to China dangerous: sources

BULLYING TACTICS:Before joining an Asia-Pacific contractors’ association, the Chinese demanded that all references to Taiwan be scrubbed from its paperwork and Web site

By Su Yung-yao and Hsu Yi-ping  /  Staff reporters

A decision by the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to allow Chinese investment in Taiwan’s public infrastructure might be tantamount to inviting foxes into the chicken coop, sources said.

The China International Contractors Association (中國對外承包工程商會), a corporation with close ties to the Chinese government, took a more active stance on joining the International Federation of Asian and West Pacific Contractors Associations (IFAWPCA) last year, when it sent a memo to the group’s secretariat and the Taiwan General Contractors Association (台灣區綜合營造工程工業同業公會) — the Taiwanese representative to the IFAWPCA — saying that China would not join the organization unless the “Taiwan issue” was resolved.

The international association promotes relationships between governments and contractors in the region on civil and building construction projects. As a founding member, Taiwan has been an active participant in the organization.

In the memo, China listed as a prerequisite before it applied for membership that, in any activity and meetings of the international association, there be no presence of the “so-called ROC [Republic of China] national flag, national emblem or national anthem.”

It also said that Taiwanese officials could not attend in any capacity.

The Chinese association also demanded that the international group remove the Taiwanese association from all lists of nations in all meetings, events, documents, Web sites and paperwork to avoid creating the impression that there are “two Chinas,” or one Taiwan and one China.

The memo also demanded that all references to the “Republic of China” be removed from the international group’s Web site and requested that the members take a definitive stance on the demands.

The members would have to sign and approve the memo with the secretariat before China would apply for membership, the memo said, adding that the international association must strictly hold to the demands by negotiating with China to “ask for permission” on any events related to Taiwan thereafter.

In a reply to the Chinese in August last year, the international group’s secretariat said that as an international non-governmental organization, the IFAWPCA was not a political organization, adding that although each member represented their country, they called themselves by their association name and not their national name, which highlights the group’s reluctance to involve itself in political matters.

Sources said that when the memo was received last year, the Taiwanese group asked the Ma administration to intervene, but were told that because elections were coming, the administration tried to delay the issue by calling on Beijing to push back its application.

Though China has yet to apply for membership, after the Ma administration announced that public infrastructure construction would be opened to Chinese investment, Chinese influence in Taiwan’s economy and politics would increase, the sources said.

At that time, the international association would inevitably be forced to agree to China’s strict demands, the sources said.

The sources said that the public sector is worried that further opening up of infrastructure construction to Chinese investors would enable China to control local factions through construction benefits and the contracting of subcontractors, and that such control would be able to influence elections.

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