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Beijing hasn't mentioned pact renegotiation: minister

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said yesterday that according to information gathered by his council, mainland China has not conveyed the possibility of a renegotiation of the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement.

During the MAC's weekly press conference, the minister said that the mainland Chinese authorities have not expressed an opinion on the recent controversy.

When asked if it would be possible to renegotiate the cross-strait pact, Wang said, “So far the mainland Chinese have not conveyed the possibility of restarting negotiations.”

Echoing the results of last year's cross-party negotiations, the student activists initially called for an article-by-article review and vote on the pact, which is what the executive supports, Wang said.

However, in the course of an article-by-article vote, if any article is rejected, the pact would have to be renegotiated, but one party alone cannot decide whether the agreement should be renegotiated, Wang said.

Renegotiating the pact is not something Taiwan can do by itself, the minister pointed out, urging the public to understand the circumstances.

On Wednesday, a mainland China-based media outlet claimed that Beijing would not accept a request for renegotiation.

Boycott Rumors

Rumors recently emerged claiming that several Taiwanese and Hong Kong entertainers, such as Deserts Chang (張懸), Mayday (五月天) and Chapman To (杜汶澤), will be boycotted in mainland China over their support for the demonstrations against the cross-strait pact being held in Taiwan.

While expressing support for the Taiwanese protests, To reportedly got into a flame war on the Internet, posting a message that said, “Sometimes people should not pay too much attention to the condescending remarks by mainland Chinese netizens. The fact is they're not all that capable. They just happen to have enough money to patronize an Internet cafe.”

To's remarks incited a wave of angry protests from mainland Chinese Internet users, many of whom advocated a boycott of the Hong Kong actor.

When asked about the rumors, the Taiwan Affairs Office, the MAC's Beijing counterpart, said that comments made by public figures will naturally be scrutinized by the public, adding that people on both sides of the strait, especially the younger generation, should communicate more and clear any misunderstandings that they might have toward one another.

Meanwhile, two Taiwanese students in mainland China stirred up controversy by posting photographs of themselves holding up signs in protest against the cross-strait pact with a statue of Mao Zedong in the background.

The sign was written in phonetic notation — taught to school children in Taiwan but not on the mainland — as opposed to Chinese characters. It read, “Against opaque trade pact, support Taiwan democracy, love Taiwan.”

The photos managed to elicit protest from mainland Chinese Internet users who launched an “online search” for the two.

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