China milkfish order doesn’t buy votes: survey

The China Post news staff

A “political order” placed by mainland China to purchase milkfish from Xuejia District of Tainan City hasn’t worked to change the voting preference of residents there, with the majority of them still supporting the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party in the 2012 presidential race, according to findings of a survey released by the Chinese-language Business Weekly.

The order was placed by Zheng Lizhong, vice president of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, when he visited Xuejia District on Aug. 23, 2010, two months after both sides of the Strait signed the economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA). The buying price was set at NT$45 per catty, higher than the market price by NT$5-NT$10. Kuo Yi-ling, editor-in-chief of Business Weekly, said her magazine decided to evaluate the effect of the ECFA by observing whether the milkfish order would change the voting structure of residents in Xuejia. At the moment, there are around 20,000 residents in Xuejia District, with 70 percent of them supporting the DPP and 30 percent backing the Kuomintang (KMT) in the past elections.

Although up to 100 milkfish farmers have benefited from the high-price order from mainland China, a survey conducted by the Shih Hsin University Public Opinion Poll Center under the commission of the Business Weekly, showed that the “political order” has failed to change the “political preference” of residents in the small district.

The survey showed that 41 percent of the residents polled said the milkfish order should be credited to President Ma Ying-jeou, but 33 percent of respondents, mostly supporters for DPP, opined that the order should be credited to businessmen.

The poll also found that up to 93 percent of the polled said the milkfish order will not change their support for presidential candidates. And 57 percent said they would support DPP’s presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen, 31 percent would back KMT’s Ma Ying-jeou, and 12 percent would prefer James Soong of the People First Party.