NPC deputy from Taiwan delegation urges DPP authorities to handle fatal boat incident sincerely
Published: Mar 06, 2024 11:44 AM
Zou Zhenqiu, an NPC deputy from Taiwan delegation and head of the Jiangsu provincial federation of Taiwan compatriots. Photo: Zhao Yusha/GT

Zou Zhenqiu, an NPC deputy from Taiwan delegation and head of the Jiangsu provincial federation of Taiwan compatriots. Photo: Zhao Yusha/GT

The Taiwan authorities' handling of aftermath regarding a fatal mainland fishing boat capsize incident hurt feelings of mainland compatriots, and exposed long-standing irresponsibility of the island authority, a deputy to the 14th National People's Congress (NPC) from delegation of island of Taiwan said. He also demanded Taiwan authorities publicly apologize and compensate the victims' families. 

The onus of the fatal incident lies entirely on Taiwan authorities, yet relevant departments within Taiwan are obscuring the truth and trying to shift blame, which is despicable, Zou Zhenqiu, an NPC deputy from Taiwan delegation and head of the Jiangsu provincial federation of Taiwan compatriots, told the Global Times on Tuesday.  

Zou believed the mainland should firmly adhere to its stance, demand Taiwan authorities publicly apologize and compensate for the victims. 

Two fishermen from the Chinese mainland were killed after a mainland fishing boat was chased on February 14 by Taiwan authorities and capsized in the waters near Kinmen, a group of islets in the Taiwan Straits just a few kilometers from Xiamen, Fujian Province.

Families of the victims returned to mainland from Kinmen following negotiations on Tuesday failed to reach an acceptable outcome. The family members accused Taiwan authority of lacking the grace of offering a basic apology, and no one was willing to shoulder responsibility. Li Zhaohui, deputy director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of Quanzhou, Fujian accused Taiwan authorities of not telling the truth, going back on their word, and lacking sincerity. "The consequences will be borne by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities," media reported.

The issue of Taiwan authorities harassing fishing boats from the mainland has been a longstanding problem. However, the mainland has chosen to adopt a tolerant approach. Zou noted that the recent actions taken by the island authorities are very disappointing.

Zou said the DPP authorities' decision to axe tour groups travel to Chinese mainland last month has triggered deep frustration among Taiwan compatriots. "The anger is especially palpable among tourism operators in Taiwan, who even claimed that they will take to the streets to protest," said Zou.

Zou said the DPP authorities have always sought to undermine cross-Straits exchanges, Lai Ching-te of DPP, who recently won the regional election, is expected to continue this approach. "The authorities' move to suspend tour groups to the mainland is not a surprise to us given DPP's usual practice of adopting 'de-Sinicization' education, and advocating secessionism."

Zou admitted that lack of communication and exchange had negative impact on Taiwan compatriots' understanding of mainland. "Some of them have very limited understanding of the mainland, and some even have very one-sided or extreme views."

He called for more preferential policies to attract Taiwan compatriots to visit the mainland.  

The drop of "peaceful reunification" in this year's Government Work Report has drawn attention from Western media. Reuters reported that "the change in language is closely watched as a possible sign of more assertive stance towards Taiwan."

Zou believed it doesn't signal that central government will deviate from the route. "Although we may adopt different approach, the direction of reunifying Taiwan by peaceful means is not changed now. Peaceful reunification is our consistent stance, and we are willing to promote peaceful reunification with the utmost sincerity, in a way that is beneficial to the people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits," Zou said.