DPP authorities should recognize the reality and deal with the fishing boat incident properly
Published: Feb 27, 2024 08:46 PM
Two survivors of the incident returned to the Chinese mainland on February 20, accompanied by representatives of the Red Cross Society of China branch in the port city of Quanzhou, Fujian Province. Photo: VCG

Two survivors of the incident returned to the Chinese mainland on February 20, accompanied by representatives of the Red Cross Society of China branch in the port city of Quanzhou, Fujian Province. Photo: VCG

It has been more than 10 days since a mainland fishing boat was brutally rammed and capsized near Kinmen by a Taiwan coast guard vessel, resulting in two deaths and two injuries, and the subsequent impacts are still fermenting.

The spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council has urged the Taiwan authorities to make public the truth and called on relevant agencies in Taiwan to hand out serious punishments to those accountable for the incident, meet the reasonable demands of the bereaved families and issue a formal apology to them.

Regrettably, although the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities have lost their overwhelming position in the 2024 election, in the face of the mainland's reasonable request, they are still sticking to the path of "Taiwan independence." They disregarded the fact that fishermen on both sides of the Taiwan Straits have been operating in traditional fishing grounds in the Xiamen-Kinmen waters since ancient times. They designated the so-called prohibited and restricted waters, which do not exist. They also falsely claimed that fishermen from the mainland had attempted to cross the "line," trying to justify the violent behavior of Taiwan's coast guard.

Subsequently, the Taiwan authorities overturned their words and admitted that the capsizing of the mainland fishing boat was the result of multiple collisions between the two vessels, and there was no recorded video of the incident. In the face of the mainland's reasonable requests such as apologizing for their behaviors and handing over the remains of the victims and the vessel, the Taiwan side said that they hope the mainland "can respect our judicial system," intentionally evading and delaying the handling and deliberately elevated the severity of the incident. Their aim is to create an illusion to the outside that they can negotiate with the mainland without following the "1992 Consensus."

Following the fishing boat accident, the Fujian coast guard conducted comprehensive patrols in the Xiamen-Kinmen sea area to test the rapid response and emergency response capabilities of law enforcement vessels. At the same time, Fujian's fishery department took more actions to protect the legitimate rights and interests of fishermen and the safety of their lives and properties. It is believed that the signals released by the relevant departments are very clear.

First, both sides of the Taiwan Straits should "reach out to each other" instead of opting for "sincerity for enmity." The reason why the recent incident involving the death of fishermen has sparked strong outrage among mainland netizens is mainly due to the striking differences in how the Taiwan authorities and the mainland treat fishermen from both sides of the Straits. The mainland has long upheld the concept that "both sides of the Straits belong to one family" and has done a lot of work to ensure the normal operations of fishermen from both sides, providing assistance whenever necessary. However, the Taiwan authorities have been barbaric and brutal in confiscating and penalizing.

According to statistics from Taiwan's coast guard, from 2017 to November 2023, Taiwan restricted mainland sand-dredging ships 19 times, confiscated 16 times, and dealt with 9,171 so-called illegally crossing mainland fishing vessels, detaining 392 and confiscating 83. No wonder the Taiwan media admitted that "there was inevitability within the contingency." We cannot stand idly by while the legitimate rights and interests of our fishermen are violated. We believe that under the protection of our relevant law enforcement agencies, fishermen in the Xiamen-Kinmen waters will be provided with a stable and safe fishing environment.

Second, "Taiwan independence" forces will inevitably get seriously hurt if they seek trouble. Based on the development experience of cross-Straits relations over the past eight years, regardless of how the "Taiwan independence" forces calculate or provoke, we firmly grasp the initiative and take the dominant position in the development of cross-Straits relations. The developments over the past few years have proven that the more fervently the "Taiwan independence" separatist forces make a fuss, the tighter the noose around their necks will become.

The DPP authorities should understand the situation clearly and promptly adopt an appropriate attitude and take concrete measures to properly address this issue, giving an explanation to the families of the deceased and compatriots on both sides of the Straits.

The author is a special research fellow at ZhengQi Think-Tank. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn