Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - China warns firms on Taiwan island against ‘backing independence’



China warns firms on Taiwan island against ‘backing independence’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Beijing claims self-ruled democratic Taiwan as part of its territory to be re-taken one day, by force if necessary. AFP

China warns firms on Taiwan island against ‘backing independence’

China has warned Taiwanese firms against supporting the island’s independence, hours after state media said a Taiwanese conglomerate was fined by mainland regulators as tensions flare between Beijing and Democratic Progressive Party-led Taiwan authorities.

Analysts said the move could ratchet economic pressure on Taiwanese companies operating in mainland China – and the local firms that invest in them.

Beijing claims Taiwan as part of its territory to be re-taken one day, by force if necessary.

It has intensified military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwan authorities since President Tsai Ing-wen’s 2016 election, as she sees the island as “already independent” and not part of its “one China”.

Beijing “would never allow people who support ‘Taiwan independence’ and damage cross-strait relations to make money on the mainland”, the Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) said in a statement issued late on November 22.

It was responding to a report on the official Xinhua News Agency that Taiwan’s Far Eastern Group was fined in the mainland over its investments in several Chinese provinces for violating local regulations.

“The vast number of Taiwanese companies need to tell the right from the wrong, stand firm on their position while drawing the line against ‘Taiwan independence’ splittist forces,” said the statement by spokeswoman Zhu Fenglian.

TAO this month listed several of the island’s top politicians as “Taiwan independence diehards” and warned that the authorities would “pursue criminal responsibility” effective for life.

When asked if the fine was related to the list, Zhu reiterated that the “diehard” politicians, their affiliated businesses and financial backers “will be severely punished in accordance with the law”.

Two Far Eastern units confirmed they were fined more than 88 million yuan ($13 million) in mainland China for violating environmental protection, fire safety, taxation and other regulations.

“Looks to me like another small ratchet up, moving from targeting Taiwanese individuals to firms,” Kharis Templeman, a political scientist with the Hoover Project on Taiwan, wrote on Twitter.

“I’d imagine there will be significant resistance to this. The local partners are also making money,” he added.

While relations between the Chinese government and Taiwan authorities are at their lowest in decades, Beijing has largely avoided punitive measures against Taiwanese companies that might impact mainland Chinese investors.

Margaret McCuaig-Johnston, an expert at the China Institute at the University of Alberta, said the TAO’s warning suggests that might have changed.

“Like Canadian and Australian businesses, Taiwanese firms are now finding that doing business in [mainland] China carries a much higher risk than other countries,” she wrote on Twitter.

“Those who can’t afford their business to be suddenly hit by malign & fabricated accusations should diversify to other countries.”

Far Eastern is one of Taiwan’s largest conglomerates with businesses from textile, construction, hotels to the Sogo department store chain.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the