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Home Editorials of Interest Taipei Times Beijing pressures businesspeople

Beijing pressures businesspeople

In response to requests from businesspeople, the Straits Exchange Foundation arranged an investment event in Kinmen County. No one would have expected that at least 18 senior representatives of a Taiwanese business association in China had been contacted by China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO), which convinced them not to participate in the event.

The incident harkens back to a Chinese Communist Party propaganda article published in 2015 that tried to convince Li Ka-shing (李嘉誠), Hong Kong’s richest man, to keep his assets in China. Li, who had most of his assets in Hong Kong, started to off-load his major property investments in China, a move that triggered a series of discussions in Beijing. The Liaowang Institute, a think tank of Xinhua news agency, published an article accusing Li of abandoning his benefactor upon achieving his goal, especially at a sensitive moment when China’s economy was at risk.

Today, China’s economy is again facing crisis. How does Beijing interpret the moves of Taiwanese businesspeople who have been trying to bring their investments back to Taiwan? They want to diversify their risk, but Beijing has prevented them from doing so. It is clear that China is playing the same old trick.

Meanwhile, the TAO’s recent move over the Kinmen event is contradictory. The county has been ruled by the pan-blue camp for years, and locals tend to welcome communication with China, a much different attitude from that of other areas in Taiwan. Even so, Beijing dealt with the matter bluntly, preventing locals from benefiting and stopping Taiwanese businesspeople from investing in Kinmen. Obviously, Beijing has been playing a double game. Its previous proposals to win over Kinmen residents were sugarcoated and could not be trusted.

Huang Wei-ping is a former think tank researcher.

Translated by Emma Liu

Source: Taipei Times - Editorials 2023/10/24

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