National security officials yesterday said that there was no evidence that China was playing a role in the campaign to oust President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).
"We have been gathering in-depth intelligence for a long time. As of now, we have not found any linkage [between China and the anti-Chen campaign]," said Yang Kuo-chiang (
Yang made the remarks after a closed-door meeting on the issue with Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) lawmakers.
Organizers of the anti-Chen campaign have complained that Chen and Formosa TV Station slandered them by suggesting that their efforts were supported by Beijing.
The campaign has threatened to file lawsuits.
The Presidential Office has denied that Chen suggested any such thing, and Formosa TV has replied that it merely aired a segment in which an academic pointed out the links between the campaign's slogans and classic Chinese songs.
However, Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Yu Shyi-kun has appealed several times to pro-Chen supporters to back Chen with rhetoric that "the [anti-Chen] campaign is a move by the Chinese to bully Taiwanese."
But despite the intelligence officials' briefing yesterday, TSU lawmakers remained dubious, insisting that Beijing had a hand in the campaign, if only indirectly.
"China has spent some NT$5 billion [US$152 million] to financially support Taiwan's media. That's why so many have shown their bias by promoting the anti-Chen campaign," Legislator Liao Pen-yen (
Legislator Ho Min-hao (何敏豪) asked the officials to investigate whether the Chinese government had sent agents to Taiwan under the guise of tourists to attend the anti-Chen campaign.
"On Sept. 14, 467 Chinese tourists came to Taiwan, which was higher than the average of about 100 people. This made me wonder whether they actually came for the `915 Siege,'" Ho said, referring to the anti-Chen campaign's massive march on Sept. 15.
Yang responded by saying there was no evidence of this.
Meanwhile, Vice Chief of the Military Intelligence Bureau Shen Shih-chih (
Vice Minister of National Defense Ko Cheng-heng (柯承亨) said that China had good reason to avoid any military movements.
"China might worry that any military movement would spark concerns from the US and Japan. Also, China wouldn't want to take the risk that Taiwan might try to shift the [public's] focus away from the anti-Chen campaign and toward a cross-strait crisis by seizing on its military movements," Ko said.