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Facebook becomes new gov't tool to promote Taiwan-China trade pact

2010/05/13 20:53:13

Taipei, May 13 (CNA) Taiwan's top China policy-making body isusing an online game on the social networking Web site Facebook totry to boost public support for a proposed trade agreement withChina, which it hopes to sign in June.

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) announced Thursday that anonline game titled "ECFA (Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement) Negotiation Table" will be launched May 17 as an application on the Facebook platform.

The quiz-based game will test registered users on their knowledge of the deal and provide weekly rewards.

"The idea is to let users understand more about the content ofthe proposal through game-playing, " said MAC Deputy Chairman LiuTe-hsun.

The trade agreement aims to relax trade regulations betweenTaiwan and China and reduce tariffs on Taiwan and China's exports toeach other's markets.

According to the MAC's latest public opinion poll released May 7,53.1 percent of respondents said they supported the deal, while 33.4percent said they opposed the signing of the agreement.

Supporters of the deal believe it is necessary to keep Taiwanfrom becoming economically marginalized as other countries signfree-trade agreements with China. Critics, however, said Taiwan'sworkers and industries will suffer once cheaper Chinese products flood in, and warned of being too economically dependent on China.

In order to gain more public support for the deal, the MACdecided to capitalize on the power of the Internet.

Facebook, which was named the second most popular site in Taiwan's Top 100 Web sites in an annual survey by Business Next magazine, became a natural choice.

In Taiwan, the social networking Web site has over five millionusers -- about half of the total Internet users islandwide, partly because of the popularity last year of one of its games"Happy Farm."

Users in the government's latest game will be able to selectdifferent roles they want to play in the eight-week game and are asked to answer three questions about the ECFA each day to collect points which can be used to exchange for rewards.

They can receive extra points by inviting friends to join the game,according to the MAC.

(By Chris Wang)