The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday provided what it said was evidence to back its claim that Beijing was interfering in Taiwan’s elections by helping President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) re-election campaign.
In a press release sent out on Sunday, DPP spokesperson Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) listed five ways in which China had interfered with the election, including sending provincial-level purchasing delegations and providing incentives to mobilize Taiwanese businesspeople in China to return to Taiwan for the Jan. 14 elections.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) urged the DPP to provide evidence to back up its accusations.
Citing media reports, DPP spokesperson Liang Wen-jie (梁文傑) said that Lai Xiaohua (賴曉華), wife of Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), was investigated by the Chinese government for allegedly embezzling US$300 million, which was listed as “media purchasing in Taiwan.”
Aides of People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), who is expected to run in January’s presidential election, were also quoted by the media as saying that Chinese officials had “directly or indirectly expressed their concern about possible political donations to Soong” to Taiwanese business leaders, including Chang Yung-fa (張榮發), Winston Wang (王文洋), Lin I-shou (林義守), Douglas Hsu (徐旭東) and Bob Tsao (曹興誠), Liang said.
The pro-Beijing Chinese Friendship Cities Communication Association has invited many Taiwanese borough chiefs — in particular, those who supported the DPP — to visit China this year, Liang said.
Some China-based Taiwanese businesspeople who are supporting DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in the election also told the DPP they had received threatening telephone calls from Chinese provincial and city-level officials, Liang said.
“[The officials] hinted to those businesspeople that they could face problems with their tax and land lease contracts because of their political preference,” he said.
“We condemn China’s interference with Taiwan’s elections. The public’s desire for a change of government can not be stopped by such behavior,” he said.
While Beijing has refrained from using military threats, as it did before the 1996 election, it is still trying to influence Taiwan’s elections in many ways, DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said at a DPP caucus press conference.
Citing a report by the Chinese-language Business Weekly magazine, Tsai Huang-liang said China went so far as to allow Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) to brief senior Chinese officials on Ma’s “golden decade” platform at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Oct. 28.
The briefing was an indication of Beijing’s official position that it intends to help Ma win a second term, Tsai Huang-liang said.