Ever since his return to Taiwan late last month, Chang An-le (張安樂), a wanted fugitive and former leader of the Bamboo Union triad, has sought to remind people in Taiwan that he has written a booklet promoting the “peaceful re-unification” of Taiwan and China.
Even when a SWAT team picked him up at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) after he disembarked from an airplane from Shanghai on June 29, the handcuffed Chang was able to display his political tract so that the dozens of photographers and journalists who had gathered to cover his return could catch it on film and report it.
Soon after he was released on NT$1 million (US$33,000) bail that same day, the “White Wolf” — as he is called in the underworld — started appearing on TV talk shows desperate for a ratings boost, where besides promoting his political views and demonstrating just how out of touch with Taiwan’s political scene he has become after an absence of 17 years, he made sure to flash the booklet.
After the repeated appearances the pamphlet, Peaceful Unification and One County (和平統一、一國兩制), has made in the weeks since his return, I decided to obtain a copy to see what I could learn about Chang’s plans for the future of China and Taiwan, especially now that the Unionist Party he created while he was exiled in China has stated its intention to field candidates in next year’s local elections, and perhaps even in the 2016 presidential election.
I needed to see what Chang, who served 10 years in jail in the US for drug trafficking and who played a role in the 1984 assassination of journalist Henry Liu (劉宜良) in California, had to say about his plans for unification.
Another reason I wanted to sample the literature stemmed from the high likelihood that the Chinese Community Party’s (CCP) United Front efforts to solve the “Taiwan problem” include using criminal organizations. With Chang now a free man — given that no date appears to have been set for his trial and his close relationship with some political figures in China and Taiwan — I was curious to find out whether he might be part of such efforts by the CCP.
Although it is impossible to verify his sources, exiled Chinese writer Yuan Hongbing (袁紅冰) claims in his book, The Taiwan Crisis, to have come upon high-level classified information confirming the role of organized crime in Beijing’s “reunification” efforts.
The Unionist Party’s office is located in Taipei’s Songshan District (松山). On my way there last week, I did not know what to expect, but I vividly remembered the assortment of characters that had gathered by the hundreds on June 29 to celebrate Chang’s return.
When I reached the nondescript building, I scanned the various company signs displayed in the lobby and found that party’s office was still there, on the fourth floor. I went up in the cramped elevator, various scenarios — some rather violent, albeit newsworthy — playing through my head.
It was very likely that I was the first foreigner ever to visit the party headquarters, and based on my previous experiences with pro-unification figures in Taiwan, they tend to have a bit of a xenophobic streak.
A woman passing by regarded me with a strange expression on her face as I walked toward the closed glass front door, where a large yellow-and-blue sign bearing a logo of two clasped hands — ostensibly representing the warmth of the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait — confirmed that I had reached my destination.