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Taiwan Very Concerned by Yahoo, Google Double Standard

Monday, 24 April 2006 12:00 AM

Taiwan is "very concerned" about what it views as a double standard applied by Yahoo, Microsoft and other U.S. firms to China and the rest of the world, a leading Taiwanese official tells NewsMax in an exclusive interview.

Both Yahoo and Microsoft agreed to incorporate "modifications" in their products that restrict Chinese consumers' access to certain databases and Internet sites. And Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. has blocked access to certain TV channels in its Chinese satellite distribution network to placate Chinese officials.

Shortly after Hu Jintao, president of the People's Republic of China (PRC), completed his four-day visit to the United States, Andrew Hsia – director-general of Taiwan's economic and cultural office in New York – discussed these moves and other issues with NewsMax.

Hsia: It is about what we expected. There is not much coming out of it. From the U.S. side, they are very concerned about the currency issue, intellectual property rights, freedom, democracy. China says there will be some mechanism [to address these concerns] in the future. They say they respect human rights, but under the framework of Chinese "society." They speak of democracy, but I believe their idea of democracy is different from yours and mine.

Hsia: I am very concerned. Actually, I am quite upset that those companies are having a double standard. For Taiwan, for Singapore they have one standard. My experience here is that people seem to make compromises simply because it is China. It is not just the multinationals going to China. Our business people are going to China. We have more than $100 billion invested in China. We do not want to be marginalized. I think the [Taiwanese] government is taking measures to address that situation.

Hsia: Yes. One school of thought believes with increasing economic investment you have more influence over the government and its policies. Some of the major investors from Taiwan have access to the leadership in China. It has its pros and cons.

That's why our president says our policy is effective management. We need to manage our investment in China effectively. At the moment, we do have certain restrictions. Certain technology cannot go to China. But is there anything we can do to stop it? Probably not.

Hsia: The economic, the political growth of China, that's a major change of status especially vis-a-vis Taiwan. But the concern is the increase in the [PRC] defense budget. Over the past 18 years, it has increased by double digits. The number of missiles aimed at Taiwan has risen from about 100, four or five years ago, to more than 800 today – 800 aimed directly at Taiwan.

The [PRC's] passing of an anti-secession law last year basically gave the military the prerogative to decide what constitutes "secessionist activities," their excuse for use of force. That to us is a change in the status quo, because the military balance is obviously tilting towards China.

Hsia: Of course the U.S. is offering us a military procurement package. They are offering the Patriot 3 [anti-missile missile]. So far, the problem is within my government; the budget has not been approved by parliament. This is due to the different views of the various political parties. The differences are not whether we need arms like the anti-missile missile, it is whether the price is reasonable. It is also politics – whether we need the submarines, do we need the missiles.

Hsia: My view is that to solve this problem between Taiwan and China takes time, takes leadership … What is even more important is for both sides to recognize the reality that Taiwan does exist. We can only be represented by our own elected people. So you need to deal with Taiwan's authority, before the eventual solution is found. This is the reality. The majority of people in Taiwan want the status quo. The people will eventually decide what kind of relationship we will have with China.

Hsia: Hong Kong was a colony. China negotiated with a colonial power. Taiwan is a sovereign nation with its own military, foreign relations, its own government, so it is very different. The people in Hong Kong had no say at all in their future, in their fate. Secondly, the one China-two systems formula has no relevance in Taiwan. Ask anyone on the street. Nobody wants that. The level of political freedoms is diminished in Hong Kong. The people have no right to elect the head of their government.

Hsia: Of course, human rights is a very important issue for us to deal with. So when China says it wants to "unify" with us, until the human rights record is addressed, there will not be any opportunities [to reach a solution].

President Bush has always raised the human rights issue in public and I assume in private too. And to our leaders, the issue of human rights is always one area in which we are very concerned.


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Taiwan is "very concerned" about what it views as a double standard applied by Yahoo, Microsoft and other U.S. firms to China and the rest of the world, a leading Taiwanese official tells NewsMax in an exclusive interview. Both Yahoo and Microsoft agreed to incorporate...
Monday, 24 April 2006 12:00 AM
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