Never before have any Taiwan entrepreneurs been singled out for their separatist stance. When the overseas edition of the official People's Daily published the pro-independence record of Wen Lung Hsu, it looked as though he might be the first unwelcome investor and may be barred access. As the paper put it, talking about pro-independence Taiwan businessmen, people first think of Wen Lung Hsu.
What's more significant, a week ago the spokesman of the Taiwan Affairs Office under the State Council declared, "They are not welcome. They cannot expect to make a fortune on the mainland and then go back home to provide funds to the separatists."
Was it just a warning, or a signal of real impending action? Professor Zhang Wensheng, of Xiamen University, said the threat is real.
He said the statement reflects the mainland people's demands that cross-Straits economic cooperation should aid national reunification. But this is not the case, as some Taiwan separatists use the money earned on the mainland to further "Taiwan independence."
The professor said the statement also signals the mainland's toughening stance on "Taiwan independence." In recent years, the Taiwan authorities have been pushing harder for independence and the mainland has realized that in addition to soft measures such as increasing communication and cooperation, some tough measures should also be adopted to aid reunification.
But Zhang says Beijing's position won't have a huge impact as it targets a very small number of Taiwan business people. He says the mainland's policy concerning ordinary business people from Taiwan won't change, as most of them focus only on businesses.
But Wen Lung Hsu is different. The People's Daily says he has consistently supported "Taiwan independence" with donations and campaign funding.
His Chi Mei Corporation runs two factories on the mainland and is planning to open two more. But Zhang said that now Wen is surely persona non grata on the mainland.
Since 1987, more than 30,000 Taiwan companies have invested over US$30 billion in the mainland, and over the past two decades Taiwan's trade surplus with the mainland exceeded US$150 billion.
Zhang said the mainland has become the driving force for Taiwan economic growth, and sanctions against pro-independence Taiwan business people will undoubtedly harm Taiwan's economy. Those who concentrate on business, he said, will enjoy business as usual.
(CRI.com June 1, 2004)