Wed, Dec 06, 2017 - Page 3 News List

REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK: Taiwanese CCP members also a threat

By Su Yong-yao 蘇永耀  /  Staff reporter

The Legislative Yuan is in the process of amending the legal definition of treason from colluding with “foreign states” to collusion with “foreign states or enemies.” Those changes are expected to close legal loopholes that have resulted in light sentences for those found guilty of espionage tied to China.

However, as Beijing ratchets up its operations to turn select individuals and have them infiltrate Taiwanese society in service of its agenda, lawmakers should not overlook the vulnerabilities presented by Beijing’s efforts to recruit Republic of China (ROC) citizens into the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

There has been a spate of revelations that some Taiwanese — including academic Lu Li-an (盧麗安) and students studying in Chinese universities — have obtained CCP membership or assumed positions of power within it. Although their political choices are not representative of the nation, Chinese state media have applauded them as models for political and propaganda purposes, as well as seeing them as opportunities to demean Taiwan.

Taiwanese society should not pay any heed to the Chinese media’s frantic tunes when former Taiwanese choose to exercise their democratic right to become citizens of another nation.

For instance, Lu opted to become a Chinese citizen and the government revoked her ROC citizenship, as stipulated by the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例).

What the public is rightly alarmed about is the bizarre legal loophole that allows ROC citizens to become CCP members while enjoying the full benefits of their citizenship, including running for public office. The act stipulates that the penalty for ROC citizens taking up CCP membership is at most a fine of NT$500,000.

Obviously, Beijing’s “united front” apparatus is quite happy to exploit this vulnerable legal underbelly. For example, the CCP could cultivate Taiwanese party members en masse and insert them into the nation’s educational system or other strata it wishes to influence. Such actions would effectively weaken the nation’s recognition of the Chinese threat and allow the CCP freedom of action in Taiwan to a large degree.

While the CCP does not formally acknowledge that it operates international branches, its dexterity in utilizing “clandestine communists” cannot be questioned, as history readily proves.

For example, the CCP compromised the highest echelons of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) during their historical feud.

More recently, the media have reported that there are hundreds of thousands of such secret communists in Hong Kong, with one of the territory’s former chief executives among them.

In short, political infiltration is a versatile tool that the CCP has and continues to use skillfully.

Believing in communism as a political ideology and joining the CCP should be treated as two distinct things. Taiwan has long left behind its authoritarian past and there is complete freedom in political thought and beliefs.

However, joining the CCP is an action, not a thought. As stated in the CCP’s constitution, the party explicitly seeks to achieve “national reunification” as its historical mission. Furthermore, it expects loyalty and discipline from its members.

As the nation’s lawmakers try to impose heavier penalties on communist espionage, they cannot afford to ignore the threat posed by China’s potential use of clandestine Taiwanese members of the CCP, who might conduct “united front” work or espionage on Beijing’s behalf. The legislative and executive branches of the government should counter such stratagems in their efforts.

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