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7-11 proposal for outlying island raises concern

TAIPEI--News that Taiwan's largest convenience store chain intends to open an outlet on outlying Orchid Island has met with growing concern, with a noted writer and a former premier joining the ranks of those opposed to the move.

According to President Chain Store Corp. (統一超商), which operates the 7-Eleven chain, the outlets in the outlying islands are "not making money" and "are mainly to serve these remote areas."

The company, which opened Taiwan's 5,000th 7-Eleven store last Friday in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, said that currently, the nearly 50 7-Eleven stores in the outlying Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu islands "have the support of a lot of residents there."

Entertainer Chris Wang and writer Liu Kehsiang have expressed worries about an outlet being opened on Orchid Island — which has no convenience stores at present. Former Premier Frank Hsieh has also said he is opposed to the idea.

Their main concern is "the impact on the livelihoods of local people, and to a great extent, the changes to local culture, life and landscape that cannot be easily be calculated."

"7-Eleven could be the next evil spirit for Orchid Island after the nuclear waste (stored there)," Liu said bluntly.

He said that 7-Eleven could bring convenience for tourists, and admitted that the chain's outlets on other outlying islands have been well-received in recent years, but he described Orchid Island as "starkly different" from these islands, because it is not a Han society.

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