The Sydney Morning Herald yesterday reported on connections linking former Bamboo Union leader Chang An-le (張安樂) to China’s unofficial “princeling” aristocracy, saying that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) teamed up with Chang to “help press its claims in Taiwan.”
Chang’s connections were outlined in an interview with the Good Weekend magazine insert that appears weekly in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age, another Australian newspaper, and examined in a separate report in the Sydney Morning Herald.
In the interview, Chang shed light on how he came to thrive under what the magazine described as the protection of a different kind of powerful and secretive family network: the CCP’s so-called “princeling” unofficial aristocracy, the report said.
“Yes, I’ve met lots of these princelings,” Chang was quoted as saying in the interview.
The report said that Chang listed as connections the sons of a former CCP secretary-general and a top revolutionary general during the interview.
Among Chang’s closest ties are those with Hu Shiying (胡石英), the son of the CCP’s most well-known propaganda chief, Hu Qiaomu (胡喬木), and also an associate of Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), the report said.
Hu Shiying reportedly also has ties with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), “judging by the flattering calligraphy message that hangs in the hallway of his luxury Beijing condominium, which is signed by Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou [馬英九],” the report said.
Chang reportedly said in the interview that his main friendships with Chinese officials are within the Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) of China’s State Council and not within the United Front Work Department, under the command of the Central Committee of the CCP, as many had assumed, the newspaper said.
Also known as the “White Wolf,” Chang is most famous for his involvement in the 1984 death of Henry Liu (劉宜良), a naturalized US citizen based in California who wrote an unauthorized biography of then-president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) under the pen name Chiang Nan (江南).
Chang returned to Taiwan in 1995, after he served a sentence in the US related to a drug-trafficking conviction.
He escaped to China the following year, after being placed on the wanted list for organized crime, and then lived in China for 17 years.
He returned to Taiwan in June last year. Upon his arrival, he was arrested by the police, but almost immediately released on NT$1 million (US$33,000) bail.
Having said that the goal of his return is to “cultivate ‘pro-red’ Taiwanese voters” to advocate peaceful unification with China, Chang, who now leads the China Unification Promotion Party, has mobilized several rallies to counter pro-democracy protests.
He has been linked to the pro-China counterprotests that greeted TAO Minister Zhang Zjijun (張志軍) when he visited the nation late last month.
The Sydney Morning Herald said Chang has spread his webs of influence to leading members of the traditionally independence-minded opposition, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), “who he said arranged his safe re-entry to Taiwan despite charges outstanding against his name.”
“According to a source with direct knowledge, China’s Ministry of State Security has recently used the Bamboo Union to channel lucrative opportunities to select leaders of the DPP, after senior leaders had placed huge pressure to gain concessions,” the Sydney Morning Herald report said.