SEF vows support for Taiwanese companies based in China

The Taipei-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), a semi-official organization responsible for cross-strait negotiations, said Wednesday that it has assembled a task force to find out whether any Taiwanese companies in China were being targeted on the basis of their political leanings.

The task force was established after Chinese media reported that Taiwanese seafood restaurant chain Hai Pa Wang (海霸王) was recently fined in China for mislabeling items such as fish balls that are produced at its food factory in Chengdu.

There have been speculations in China’s media that the fines were imposed on Hai Pa Wang because of the owners’ links to the family of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who is also chairwoman of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

But the Chinese government has said that the fines were imposed for violations of China’s food safety regulations.

Asked about the issue, SEF Deputy Secretary General and spokeswoman Lee Li-jen (李麗珍) said at a press briefing that the SEF had formed the task force out of concern for Taiwanese companies operating in China and to find out if Taiwanese businesspeople there were being targeted by Chinese authorities.

She said the SEF will continue to follow developments on the Hai Pa Wang issue to determine whether there was “any special motive” behind the incident.

However, Lee said, the SEF has not received any complaints from Taiwanese companies in China about unfair treatment.

The SEF currently has no plans to send officials to meet with Taiwanese businesspeople in China, but the task force will maintain contact with the companies by phone to offer support, which is its purpose, she said.

Lee also said China should not “label” Taiwanese companies or subject them to unfair treatment. While all Taiwanese businesspeople “recognize” Taiwan, it does not mean they all support the idea of Taiwan independence, she said.

Cross-strait relations have cooled since Tsai took office on May 20, due mainly to China’s insistence that the “1992 consensus” remain the political foundation for the development of cross-strait exchanges, and the Tsai administration’s reluctance to accept that.

The “1992 consensus” refers to a tacit understanding reached in 1992 between China and Taiwan, which was then under a Kuomintang (KMT) government, that there is only one China, with both sides free to interpret what that means.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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