Amid Foxconn probe, China tells Taiwan firms to play positive role in ties

BEIJING (Reuters) – Taiwanese companies should assume their social responsibilities and play a “positive role” in promoting the peaceful development of relations across the Taiwan Strait, China’s government said on Wednesday, amid a probe into major Apple supplier Foxconn.

China’s tax and land use investigations into Foxconn’s operations there have been seized on by the frontrunner to be Taiwan’s next president as an example of Chinese election interference and placing undue pressure on Taiwanese corporates who have invested billions into China.

The Chinese government has not officially confirmed the investigations, first reported by nationalistic, state-backed tabloid the Global Times on Sunday.

Asked about the investigation at a routine news conference in Beijing, Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, did not confirm the probe or refer to Foxconn.

“Relevant mainland departments treat all enterprises equally in accordance with the law and regulations, and it is a normal law enforcement act to carry out law-abiding investigations,” she said.

China’s policy of respecting, caring for and benefiting people from Taiwan will not change, and the government will as always support Taiwanese businessmen and companies to invest and create a good environment for their development, Zhu said.

She signalled China expected these companies to play a political role.

“While sharing development benefits and growth dividends on the mainland and achieving rapid development, Taiwan enterprises should also assume corresponding social responsibilities and play a positive role in promoting the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations.”

Zhu did not elaborate.

(Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Lincoln Feast)