Taiwan, China Sign Trade Pacts Amidst Opposition
Created: 2012-08-09 15:17 EST
After two years of negotiation, officials from China and Taiwan on Thursday signed two trade pacts. They’re designed to safeguard Taiwanese investors in China and boost trade across the straight.
A major issue under deliberation was the protection of Taiwanese businessmen who are detained in China. Chiang Pin-Kung, the Chairman of Taiwan’s Strait Exchange Foundation, said the new agreement addressed this concern.
[Chiang Pin- Kung, Chairman, Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation]:
“We also paid close attention to the issues that draw the most public attention, including notifying family members within 24 hours of their detention, and allowing them to hire lawyers. This also shows how much both sides care about people's personal safety.”
Opponents of the agreements say they do not go far enough. Taiwan had pressed for a non-exclusion provision of the notification requirements, but cases that involve state-security have been excluded from the pact. It’s a concern because China’s state-security laws are often criticized as murky and arbitrary.
One case that has been highlighted as a concern that the new agreements will do little to offer real protection of Taiwanese businessmen is that of Chung Ting-pang. He's the owner of a technology company and was placed under residential surveillance after being accused of jeopardizing state-security. Chung is also a practitioner of the Falun Gong spiritual movement, which is severely persecuted in China.
[Jian Sheng-Zhe, Taiwan Solidarity Union Leader]:
"There two things that the Chinese government can charge him with -- against public safety, or against national security. We are skeptical, what crime has he committed? They (the Chinese government) should tell us, but they didn't, it has been more than 50 days since he was detained."
Thursday’s agreements follow a historic trade pact signed in 2010. They are part of a push by the administration of current President, Ma Ying-jeoh, for closer economic ties to Mainland China.