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China urges Taiwan firms to show 'responsibility' as Foxconn probed

BEIJING: China on Wednesday (Oct 25) urged Taiwanese firms operating in the country to show “responsibility”, after Beijing launched a probe into tech giant Foxconn over tax and land irregularities.

State media reported over the weekend that Foxconn – a Taiwanese firm that is one of the world’s largest contract producers of electronics and a key supplier for Apple’s iPhones – was under investigation.

It did not specify what authorities are looking into, nor any offences that Foxconn may have committed.

Asked about the investigation on Wednesday, a spokeswoman for Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office – which manages relations with the self-ruled island – said it was “normal law enforcement behaviour”.

“Relevant mainland authorities treat all enterprises equally and conduct compliance investigations in accordance with laws and regulations,” Zhu Fenglian told a regular press briefing, in comments carried by the state-owned nationalist tabloid the Global Times.

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But she also said that “while Taiwan companies are sharing growth dividends and achieving rapid development on the mainland, they should also assume corresponding social responsibility and play an active role in promoting the peaceful development of cross-strait relations”.

Taipei’s vice president warned this week that Taiwanese companies based in China may be forced to relocate if they feel “unjustly pressured”.

“If they grow wary and fearful, losing trust in China, they might gradually relocate their bases to other countries,” Lai Ching-te said at a press conference.

He urged China to “cherish and value” Taiwanese businesses and not to pressure them “every time there is an election, asking them to express allegiance or even to support specific candidates”.

Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, is China’s largest private-sector employer, with more than a million workers nationwide.

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