Zhang Mingqing, director of the Information Bureau under the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, denied that the mainland is launching a probe into the political inclinations of Taiwan business people who do business on the mainland and stated that the legitimate rights and interests of most of Taiwanese investors will be well protected.
He made the remarks on Sunday while meeting a media delegation from Taiwan in Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang Province.
His comments were the first official reaction to growing worries among Taiwan business leaders about investing in the mainland since the overseas edition of People's Daily carried an editorial on May 31sharply criticizing a pro-independence Taiwan tycoon.
The newspaper ran a front-page commentary accusing Hsu Wen-lung, founder of Chi Mei Corp., of using profits from his petrochemical and electronics businesses on the mainland to fund pro-independence politicians.
The accusation came a week after Zhang told a regular press conference that the mainland "does not welcome people who make money on the mainland and return to Taiwan to support independence."
Zhang firmly denied rumors that local Taiwan affairs offices in southern China have started investigating the politics of Taiwan investors.
Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV quoted Zhang as saying to the Taiwan delegation: "We would never do such a thing as launching an investigation (into these business people)."
He added that the mainland's criticism targets only a very small number of Taiwan business people.
Despite political tension across the Taiwan Straits, economic relations have grown stronger over the past two decades.
According to the Ministry of Commerce, Taiwan investors have so far funded more than 70,000 projects on the mainland, with contracted investment of more than US$80 billion.
(China Daily June 15, 2004)