See More on Facebook

Diplomacy, Economics

President Tsai lashes out at China for using tourism as ‘political tool’

China has banned solo tourists from visiting Taiwan.


Written by

Updated: August 2, 2019

President Tsai Ing-wen said Thursday that Beijing’s ban on individual travel to Taiwan was a “political tool” that would only create a negative view of China among the Taiwanese people.

“Tourism shouldn’t be politicized,” Tsai said at a press briefing. “Politicized tourism is not sustainable tourism either.”

She was commenting on an announcement by China on Wednesday that it was banning visits to Taiwan by individual travelers, with effect from Aug.1.

“In light of the current relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait,” such travel will be suspended, starting Thursday, China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism said in a brief notice on its website.

The individual travel policy was implemented in June 2011, allowing residents of 47 major Chinese cities to apply for permits to visit Taiwan as individual travelers. All other visitors to Taiwan were required to apply though select travel agencies to go on group tours.

In Tsai’s comments on Thursday, she said it has long been a strategy by China to clamp down on tourism to Taiwan ahead of the latter’s major elections, like the January 2020 presidential vote.

The latest travel ban, however, was “a major strategic mistake,” Tsai said.

She said many solo travelers from China are young people who get to experience a sense of freedom in Taiwan, a country free of government surveillance and social media restrictions.

Traveling solo instead of in a tour group is the best and most natural way for the people on both sides of the strait to interact with each other and conduct exchanges, Tsai said, adding that it was regretful that right had been removed for Chinese citizens.

She said that since she took office in May 2016, however, her administration has been diversifying Taiwan’s sources of visitors, partly to counter China’s repeated efforts to weaken Taiwan’s tourism sector.

The president said her administration will not give in to such constant coercion from the other side of the Taiwan Strait.

“We will lose everything we have if we give in,” Tsai said.

Also commenting on the issue Thursday, Premier Su Tseng-chang said visitor arrivals from countries other than China totaled 8.37 million in 2018, an increase of 1.2 million from 2016, thanks to the efforts of the Tsai administration.

As part of the government’s plans to minimize the impact of China’s latest travel ban, the transportation ministry will inject NT$3.6 billion (US$115.85 million) into an ongoing domestic travel program in the fourth quarter of the year, Su said.

He said Beijing’s ban was yet another example of the actions of an authoritarian regime in China.

Meanwhile, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) spokesman Ma Xiaoguang said Thursday the ban was imposed because the cross-strait status quo had changed under the current Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration, which he said was pushing for Taiwan independence.

Beijing has taken a hardline stance on cross-strait relations since Tsai refused as president to accept the “1992 consensus,” a tacit understanding reached in 1992 between the then-Kuomintang (KMT) government of Taiwan and the Chinese government.

Under the consensus, both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge that there is only “one China” with each side free to interpret what “China” means, according to the KMT interpretation. Beijing, however, has never publicly recognized the second part of that interpretation.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Asia News Network
About the Author: Asia News Network is a regional media alliance comprising 24 media entities.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy, Economics

Hong Kong adds another dimension to US-China trade war

Hong Kong’s has become another consideration for Xi and Trump in their ongoing trade dispute. The United States and China have been embroiled in a trade war for almost two years with reciprocal tariffs and fiery rhetoric coming from both sides. Both economies have suffered and the world’s two largest economies both face the looming threat of recession. China, in addition to a tenuous economic situation is also facing more woes in Hong Kong, a Chinese territory that is self-governed. Protesters have taken to the streets in the island-territory after a proposed extradition law was publicly opposed. The protests have evolved beyond the initial grievances to long-held anxieties over the economy, living space and, ultimately, rule by Beijing. As the pro-democracy protests gather steam and threaten to become more widespread and violent, the United States has involved itself and ad


By Cod Satrusayang
August 16, 2019

Diplomacy, Economics

Moon urges Japan to choose ‘path of dialogue and cooperation’

Japan and South Korea have been locked in an increasingly ugly trade spat. President Moon Jae-in said Thursday that Seoul will cooperate with Tokyo if it retracts its recent trade restrictions, stressing the importance of international cooperation and free trade. “Within the realm of the international division of labor, if any country weaponizes a sector where it has a comparative advantage, the peaceful free trade order will inevitably suffer damages,” Moon said in his Liberation Day speech. “Better late than never. If Japan chooses the path of dialogue and cooperation, we will gladly join hands. We will strive with Japan to create an East


By The Korea Herald
August 16, 2019

Diplomacy, Economics

China will quell Hong Kong protests that show signs of terrorism: Chinese ambassador to UK

China has previously said that the protests have bordered on terrorism. China will use its power to quell Hong Kong protests if the situation deteriorates further after some protesters have shown signs of terrorism, China’s ambassador to London said on Thursday (Aug 15). “Should the situation in Hong Kong deteriorate further… the central government will not sit on its hands and watch,” Ambassador Liu Xiaoming told reporters at a news conference in London. “We have enough solutions and enough power within the limits of (the) Basic Law to quell any unrest swiftly,” Mr Liu said. “Their moves are severe and violent offences, and already shows signs of terrorism.” He added: “The central gove


By The Straits Times
August 16, 2019

Diplomacy, Economics

UNSC to hold ‘closed door’ meeting on India’s Kashmir move: Reports

The meeting will be held at Pakistan’s request. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will reportedly hold a “closed door” meeting to discuss India’s move to revoke Article 37, that had granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir. UNSC President Joanna Wronecka told reporters on Wednesday said that they would discuss “the Jammu and Kashmir situation behind closed doors most likely on August 16”, according to media reports. The development comes after Pakistan wrote a formal letter to the UNSC president calling for an emergency meeting of the UNSC to discuss India’s move to revoke the special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The letter was sent through Permanent Representative Maleha Lodhi to convene the meeting. “I have requested in the letter that a special meeting of the Security Council should be called to discuss those actions of India which we consider as illegal and aga


By The Statesman
August 16, 2019

Diplomacy, Economics

China, the United States and the story of agriculture

China says the US responsible for its farmers’ woes. Editor’s Note: Last week the Commerce Ministry said Chinese enterprises have halted the purchase of US agricultural products following Washington’s threat to impose 10 percent tariffs on another $300 billion of Chinese goods. Two experts share their views on the issue with China Daily’s Yao Yuxin. Excerpts follow: Declining exports to hit US farmers The Chinese enterprises’ decision to suspend the purchase of US agricultural products, mainly soybean, dairy products, sorghum and pork, will deal a fresh blow to farmers and traders in the United States. The escalating trade conflict between the world’s two largest economies has slashed US exports of farm produce to China, which used to be the largest importer of US soybean. China imported $9.1 billion worth of US farm produce last year, down fr


By China Daily
August 16, 2019

Diplomacy, Economics

India gauges international response to its Kashmir decision

Delhi’s unilateral move has been met with varying response from the international community. India’s decided earlier this month to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir state. The state will be bifurcated it into two union territories – Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh – which will be accountable directly to the federal government. Whether India likes it or not, its Kashmir decision has international ramifications and Modi’s government will be gauging them carefully. That is relatively good news for India’s Narendra Modi-led government which has staked much of its political capital on coming through on this long-promised move after winning a landslide second consecutive election in May. United States President Donald Trump said in a bland statement: “We are closely following the events in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. We take note of India’s a


By Ishan Joshi
August 15, 2019