Mainland China officials have ruled out the idea of that country’s citizens being allowed to gamble in Taiwan casinos if such schemes ever come to fruition, reports state-run Chinese news agency Xinhua.
Currently Taiwan has proposed allowing such venues only on its outlying island chains of Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu, rather than the main island of Taiwan. That makes it easier for mainland China to enforce its will via selective travel restrictions to the outlying Taiwanese areas.
Mainland regulations and cross-Strait agreements between China and Taiwan prohibit mainland Chinese tourists from gambling in Taiwan, Fan Liqing, spokesperson for the State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office, was quoted saying at a press conference on Wednesday.
In 2009, Taiwan passed a law that in principle lifted a prohibition on casino gambling on its outlying island chains. A condition was that the local populations would need to approve such activity via local referenda. In one such poll in July 2012 the residents of the Matsu island chain voted in favour of casinos to help attract tourists.
On Sunday, the director of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, Zhang Zhijun, had warned that if casinos were built in Taiwan’s outlying islands, China would revoke the direct transit, shipping and trade links between Kinmen and Matsu and the mainland China province of Fujian.
Despite Beijing’s opposition, the president of Taiwan’s legislature, Wang Jin-pyng said laws must be enacted to regulate a proposed gambling industry, Radio Taiwan International reported on Monday.
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