Taiwan and China are two separate nations, and cross-strait exchanges can be beneficial and should not be completely cut off, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told lawmakers yesterday amid questions about the role of the Mainland Affairs Council and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Taiwan Statebuilding Party Legislator Chen Po-wei (陳柏惟) said COVID-19 has put the safety of Taiwanese at risk and could tarnish the nation’s reputation, as foreigners often confuse Chinese with Taiwanese “since they all have black hair and yellow skin.”
He asked Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) what the council’s responsibilities were, adding that the council should not be promoting cross-strait exchanges, which China could use to assimilate Taiwanese.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
The council works to ensure that protocols for cross-strait exchanges are observed, the nation’s sovereignty is respected and the safety needs of Taiwanese are met, the minister said.
Chen Po-wei said that he supports Taiwanese doing business with Chinese, but is against “detrimental” exchanges, including Chinese “united front” tactics.
Chen Ming-tong said that the government should have faith in its people, who would be able to clearly see through exchanges which is the better government, Taipei or Beijing.
The whole world has seen that Taiwan has done a better job than Beijing in containing COVID-19, Chen Ming-tong said, adding that exchanges would allow the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to have more such competitions.
The premier said that with the world hailing the “Taiwan model” for containing COVID-19, foreigners discriminating against Taiwanese at this time are clearly unaware.
China is a large nation and market, from which Taiwanese have made profits, so as long as national security is ensured and the nation is not absorbed, he supports the two sides having mutually beneficial and respectful exchanges, Su said.
The government encourages people to compare China and Taiwan so that they can clearly see the face of communist rule, he said.
Chen Po-wei suggested the government implement “defensive democracy” by testing Chinese applying to visit Taiwan on their understanding of the Anti-infiltration Act (反滲透法) and the differences between the two nations’ political systems, just as the US government tests prospective immigrants.
Chen Ming-tong said he respected the idea, but the Legislative Yuan would need to pass laws to allow such a move.
Chen Po-wei suggested that Hong Kongers be allowed to serve as recruits in the Republic of China military, and they could boost the nation’s working-age population.
Hong Kong is a younger society than Taiwan, and its people hate the Chinese more than Taiwanese do, he said.
Su replied that the government cares deeply about the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, but recruiting Hong Kongers for the military would require prudence.
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