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Chen Shui-bian fears pandas, cross-Straits exchanges
Latest Updated by 2006-04-05 09:20:37
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While people all over the world love giant pandas, Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian is determined to keep them out of the island.

Under Chen's direction, Taiwan's "Council of Agriculture" reached a decision on March 31 that Taiwan would not accept the two giant pandas donated by the Chinese mainland as goodwill gifts, saying the natural environment in Taiwan doesn't suit pandas.

Chen's fear of the two lovely giant pandas is understandable. The pandas will further boost affinity and harmony across the Taiwan Straits, which is good for people and regional peace but unfavorable to Chen's efforts to promote "Taiwan independence". His fear, however, is not justified.

Animal experts in Taiwan quickly pointed out that Taiwan is well capable of supporting the giant pandas because Taipei has one of the best zoos in the world.

Giant pandas live in two kinds of environment. There are more than 1,800 giant pandas living in the wild and more than 180 live in captivity on the Chinese mainland.

The mainland has donated more than 20 giant pandas to foreign countries, including the United States and Japan, all of which are faring well.

Taiwan people have shown strong desire to see the pandas on the island. Two zoos in Taiwan have applied to house the two animals.

KMT spokesman Chang Jung-kung said Taiwan authorities' rejection of the animals meant "they are obstructing peaceful coexistence and harmonious exchanges of two sides of the Taiwan Straits from a narrow ideological perspective".

Taiwan authorities have shown the same mentality in obstructing sale of Taiwan fruits to the mainland and the entry of mainland tourists, which will benefit Taiwan farmers and the tourism sector on the island.

Such mentality also guided Taiwan authorities' decision to forbid mainland film actor Zhang Guoli to enter Taiwan and forbid mainland pop singer Li Yuchun to speak to the press during her performing tour in Taiwan.

In sharp contrast, the mainland allows free entry of Taiwan show business personnel and allows them to speak to the press freely.

Cross-Straits relations have kept growing despite obstructive efforts of Taiwan authorities. According to statistics of China's Ministry of Commerce, the Chinese mainland had approved a total of 68,095 projects funded by businesspeople from Taiwan by the end of 2005, with a contractual investment of 89.7 billion U.S. dollars from Taiwan. Indirect cross-Straits trade volume hit 495.81 billion dollars by the end of 2005, including 414.08 billion dollars of Taiwan export to the mainland. As a result, the mainland is Taiwan's No. 1 export market and largest source of trade surplus.

Boosting harmony and affinity across the Taiwan Straits is a tendency supported by compatriots and conforms with universal law. Wise and responsible politicians should push forward rather than obstruct this trend, no matter what his previous platform was.

Even Chen Shui-bian himself acknowledges "Taiwan independence" is a dead-end alley. So why not conform to the general trend of the times and people's wishes then?

Chen should stop treating affinity between compatriots as a thorn in his flesh. His current position will not only cost him his political life, but also endanger peace in the region.

Editor: Yan

By: Source: China View website
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