Far Eastern New Century, Asia Cement fined in China (update)

11/22/2021 10:16 PM
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Asia Cement
Asia Cement's production site in Taiwan's Hualien County. File photo courtesy of the company

Taipei, Nov. 22 (CNA) Two leading companies of the Taiwan-based Far Eastern Group have been fined a combined 88.62 million Chinese yuan (US$13.89 million) for multiple violations at their factories in China, but Beijing also suggested that politics were involved.

In statements Monday, Far Eastern New Century and Asia Cement pledged to pay their respective fines and other penalties as required, but indicated they will not have any material effect on their finances or business operations.

According to Chinese media, law enforcement officials found the violations at textile fiber and cement factories owned by the companies in Shanghai, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Hubei, and Sichuan during inspections conducted in the second quarter.

The violations involved environmental, occupational health, land usage, plant safety, fire safety, and tax issues.

On Monday night, China's Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson Zhu Fenglian (朱鳳蓮) confirmed the violations and fines when asked about them by reporters.

She then added that China "welcomes and supports" investment from Taiwanese enterprises and "will continue to protect their legal rights."

But "we will absolutely not allow people who support Taiwan independence or destroy cross-Taiwan Strait relations to make money in the mainland, who dare bite the hand that feeds them," Zhu said.

The reply suggested that beyond the violations of Far Eastern Group companies, the penalties were imposed because of the their political leanings and contributions.

According to a Control Yuan list of political donations received by candidates in the 2020 presidential and legislative elections, Far Eastern Group companies gave money to politicians on both sides of the political divide, including the pro-independence "green" camp.

Far Eastern New Century was fined 36.5 million yuan while Asia Cement was fined NT$52.12 million yuan, and both were ordered to pay back taxes and take corrective measures.

Some 98 percent of Far East New Century's problems identified by Chinese authorities have been taken care of, and the remaining 2 percent will be resolved by the end of the year, the company said.

(By Luke Sabatier)

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