When China Innovation Investment Ltd executive director Xiang Xin (向心) and his wife, acting director Kung Ching (龔青), were detained by authorities in Taiwan on Nov. 24 after self-professed Chinese spy William Wang Liqiang (王立強) accused them of being Chinese intelligence officers, Beijing reacted strangely by only accusing Wang of being a convicted fraudster without bad-mouthing Xiang or Kung.
As Taiwanese authorities gradually disclosed more evidence to establish the couple’s alleged involvement in espionage, the Global Times — which is published by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) under the auspices of the People’s Daily newspaper — posted an exclusive article on its public Weixin account on Wednesday last week, titled “Who exactly is Xiang Xin, who is being detained by Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party administration?”
The article made the following accusations:
First, in 2016, Xiang was involved in a fundraising scam committed by a 10 billion yuan (US$1.42 billion) wealth management company in China, placing him in a difficult situation and causing him great losses.
Second, from 2013 to last year, he was involved in many civil lawsuits, most of which were contract disputes.
When the Wang espionage case broke in Australia, China took the lead in smearing the 26-year-old, calling him a fraudster with the full force of the communists, and with some help from Taiwan’s pan-blue camp, to discredit his allegations.
Beijing even released trial footage allegedly showing Wang confessing to fraud — only to be met with disbelief in Australia.
Now, it has turned its attention to Xiang, calling him an “ordinary businessman who has been involved in many fundraising scams and is burdened with lawsuits.”
On Monday, Taiwanese political commentator Paul Lin (林保華), an expert on China affairs and frequent Taipei Times contributor, wrote an article in the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) to elucidate the military intelligence context of Wang’s espionage case and provide a detailed political background of Xiang and his wife.
According to Lin, if the case’s basic elements are real, “it would be the largest espionage network to be exposed since 1986, when Yu Qiangsheng (俞強聲), then-director of the Chinese Ministry of State Security’s North America Intelligence Department and Foreign Affairs Division, defected to the US.”
Compared with what China did in the past to expose Chinese spies who risked their lives for the CCP under the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime, smearing Wang and Xiang is probably just the beginning. Yet, China’s reaction to a certain degree validates the success of the joint efforts of Five Eyes and Taiwan.
Yu Kung is a Taiwanese businessman operating in China.
Translated by Chang Ho-ming
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