The government needs to draw up countermeasures against China’s 31 incentives, which allow Taiwanese to participate in Beijing’s Thousand Talents Program, academics said, after the US arrested several Chinese-American scientists participating in the program over espionage allegations.
The program, also known as the Recruitment Program of Global Experts, was launched in 2008 to attract overseas talent to boost development in China’s key technologies, the high-tech industry and emerging technologies.
Beijing has so far recruited 8,000 experts and academics through the program.
Most of them are ethnic Chinese who receive generous wages and financial benefits, but 33 of them are Taiwanese, government data showed.
The FBI has determined the program to be a key target for investigation, as the US believes that it is closely linked to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), foreign media have reported.
The scientists arrested on suspicion of spying include General Electric Co engineer Zheng Xiaoqing (鄭小清), former Virginia Tech academic Zhang Yiheng (張以恆) and climate scientist Wang Chunzai (王春在).
Foreign governments’ concerns over espionage have prompted Beijing to censor the initiative and bar the use of the term “Thousand Talents Program.”
China’s inclusion of the program into its incentives aims to give Taiwanese experts the illusion that they will have better career opportunities in China, Tamkang University Center of Advanced Technology executive director Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲) said yesterday.
However, once the technologies they take to China are copied, they are no longer deemed as valuable assets, Su said.
He urged the government to establish a mechanism to track and monitor Taiwanese who have joined the program, and to introduce stricter regulations for people who specialize in sensitive high-tech traveling to China.
As tensions rise between the US and China, anyone associated with Beijing — whether through business or academia — risks being blacklisted by Washington and losing cooperation opportunities in the US, Taipei Medical University’s Center for General Education deputy dean Chang Kuo-cheng (張國城) said.
The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said that full-time faculty members at public and private universities are required to obtain the government’s approval before they can join Beijing’s program.
People who take up a post in China through the program would be dealt with in the same manner as those who assume a position in the Chinese Communist Party or the PLA, and could see their household registration in Taiwan revoked, the council said.
None of the Taiwanese who have joined the program has a full-time post at an educational institution in Taiwan, which means they do not need government approval, the council said, but added that it would continue to monitor them.
The program played a role in former National Central University (NCU) professor Chen Kun-shan’s (陳錕山) defection to China in 2014.
Chen, a remote-sensing specialist, participated in research projects initiated by the National Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology, the Ministry of National Defense’s Communication Development Office and the National Security Bureau.
Chen took part in 102 research projects with a combined funding of NT$520 million (US$16.82 million), Ministry of Science and Technology data show.
Chen was leading a NT$250 million project for the Council of Agriculture when he defected.
NCU had to pay more than NT$100 million in compensation due to reasons caused by his sudden departure.
Intelligence officials said that Chen delivered classified information to China.
‘NO EQUILIBRIUM’: Taiwan’s increased defense spending is a good step, but it needs to do more to have the ability to deter aggression from China, a senior US official said The US plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems — including mines, cruise missiles and drones — to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said. Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which US military sales to Taiwan were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing. However, US President Donald Trump’s administration has this year become more aggressive with China, and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, lingering trade tensions, disputes about the
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Several of the PLA fighter jets that crossed the median line of the Strait came within 68km of Hsinchu, drawing warnings from Taiwan, the ministry said At least 18 Chinese military aircraft yesterday flew into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on the second day of a US delegation’s visit, the Ministry of National Defense said, adding that the military responded by deploying an air defense missile system to monitor their activities. A delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach on Thursday started a three-day visit to Taiwan. The ministry from Thursday started publicizing the actions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Taiwan’s ADIZ on its Web site and Twitter. According to ministry reports, 18 PLA aircraft
ON THEIR OWN: The KMT has decided not to participate as a party at this year’s forum, and if any members do go, they would not be representing the party, Alicia Wang said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday announced that it would not send a delegation “as a political party” to this year’s Straits Forum, after a Chinese TV program described the planned visit to the annual meeting as “suing for peace.” The 12th forum is scheduled to open in Xiamen, China, on Saturday. On Tuesday last week, the KMT announced that former legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) would lead the party’s delegation to the forum, with KMT Secretary-General Lee Chien-lung (李乾龍) as deputy head. However, on Thursday last week, China Central Television’s (CCTV) Yangshipin (央視頻) program, hosted by Li Hong (李紅), included a headline
WORKING OVERTIME? NTU professor Lee Duu-jong denied that he had held a part-time position at a Chinese university or joined China’s Thousand Talents Program A candidate for the post of National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST) president yesterday dropped out of the race following a report questioning his links to Chinese academia and government programs. Lee Duu-jong (李篤中), a professor at National Taiwan University’s (NTU) chemical engineering department, was a member of China’s Changjiang Scholars’ Program in 2006 and was on the list of its Thousand Talents Program in 2017, a report by Chinese-language Mirror Media magazine said yesterday. The article said that Lee is suspected of having held a part-time job at the Harbin Institute of Technology in China and was the recipient