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In recent years, many Chinese tourists have chosen to visit Taiwan and this has resulted in increasingly more problems. It is said that a Chinese travel agency sent a letter to the major travel agencies in Taiwan complaining about Taiwanese tour guides, saying they played an anti-communism documentary on the tour bus and requested to ban any video with anti-communism elements. In this regard, the Tourism Bureau emphasizes to respect the freedom of speech in Taiwan. A employee in the tourism industry says, “Taiwan is a place where you can speak freely. Anyone can be an anti-communist or anti-capitalist.”

Liberty Times reports, the Hebei Overseas International Travel Service Company says in a letter that a Taiwanese tour guide, Huang, of the Chinhsi travel agency played a video with anti-communism content and created an especially negative impact. The Chinese travel agency was severely criticized by the authorities of Hebei province.

Jiang Qi-xing, the chairman of the Chinhsi travel agency, says Huang was answering the requests of Chinese tourists to play something new, and thus played the DVD titled, “Biography of Mao Ze-dong,” produced by a British company.

Jiang says, this is nothing anti-communism for Taiwanese people, but is not for part of the Chinese tourists due to culture differences. Interestingly, the tour guide industry speculates the three-hour-long documentary which provokes sensitivity of Chinese tourists should be the one regarding Tiananmen Square. The video is prohibited to broadcast in China, but many Chinese tourists wish to watch it in Taiwan.

CNA reports, according to the investigation conducted by the Tourism Bureau, when the Chinhsi travel agency played the documentary of Mao, only one elder person was upset and thought the content was different from his idea of “Chairman Mao.” The tour guide asked the opinions of other tourists and no one was reluctant to watch the video. But after the visitor reported this back to the Hebei Overseas, the Chinese travel agency not only demanded the Taiwanese agency not to play anymore anti-communism documentaries but also strictly banned Taiwanese tour guides from expressing remarks of different standpoints.

The bureau emphasizes that the video played on the tour bus should hold legitimate copyrights and can not violate moral standards. If following the rules, there will be no problems, even if the video content is related to anti-communism. The Tourism Bureau will ask the Chinese authorities to understand this and show respect for the diverse freedom of speech in Taiwan.

Apple Daily reports, according to understanding, the letter was addressed with a harsh manner, saying the documentary has produced terribly negative impact and was severely criticized by the related authorities of Hebei. In the letter, they even stress the policy regarding banning any documentary that damages national image on Taiwanese tour buses and claim to strictly review any documentary and propaganda clips to be played on the tour buses, as well as the words of each local tour guide.

“Chinese tour guides have the right to immediately stop and report any inappropriate behavior.”

The letter even says Huang, the tour guide of Chinhsi travel agency, should not work for Hebei Overseas any more.

In this regard, the Tourism Bureau says this Chinese agency did not issue complaints through cross-strait communication systems and the wording and content of the official communication are all inappropriate, which will possibly damage the mutual trust that has been established since the two sides opened to each other in tourism.

The Tourism Bureau will appeal through the channels between the Taiwan Strait Tourism Association and the China Cross-Strait Exchange Association to urge China to further understand the truth in order to maintain steady development of cross-strait tourism.

Storm Media reports, Legislator Li Jun-yi believes, even small Chinese local travel agencies dare to issue documents ordering Taiwanese travel agencies around, rather than through formal cross-strait channels, which shows negative and outrageous consequences resulting from the extreme pro-China policy of the Ma government.

Translated by June
Edited by Olivia Yang