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China to cut tourists to Taiwan: reports

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – China wanted to cut the number of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan in the run-up to the January 16 elections, unconfirmed reports said Tuesday.
Both the size of the cuts and the reason for the unexpected decision differed according to the media offering the reports.
The most alarmist version had the Taiwan Affairs Office, China’s ministry for relations with Taiwan, seeking a cutback of 95 percent in the number of Chinese tourists visiting the island.
Another report had China targeting a 50-percent reduction for the period from December 16 to January 15, or the final month before the presidential and legislative elections.
The motives for China’s government suddenly wanting a sharp drop in the number of its citizens traveling to Taiwan also were varied, depending on the media reports.
One version was that China did not want too many of its nationals witnessing democracy in action, as daily motorcades and mass rallies might give the visitors too positive a view of Taiwan’s boisterous democracy.
Another theory was that the Chinese authorities wanted to keep sufficient seats on planes available for Taiwanese business people wishing to go back and cast their ballot in the election. In general, Beijing regards the Taiwanese investors as sympathetic to the ruling Kuomintang’s policies of close relations with China, and would therefore hope that their votes could still help avert a victory by the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, despite the party’s massive lead in most opinion polls.
Some reports said that China implemented similar measures during previous presidential election campaigns, but on a voluntary basis.