Academics have urged President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) government to follow other countries’ examples, preventing Chinese infiltration and establishing a self-defense mechanism for the nation’s democracy as soon as possible.
Chinese infiltration in the international community has affected the national interest of different countries, Cross-Strait Policy Association secretary-general Wang Chih-sheng (王智盛) said.
However, for Taiwan, Chinese infiltration touches on national survival, Wang said, adding that the government should review what other countries have done as soon as possible, assess national security laws and ensure Taiwan’s safety.
According to Wang, Jamestown Foundation fellow Peter Mattis has said that former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) term was a “dark decade,” during which Chinese spies were most active in Taiwan.
Mattis, a former US government analyst, said that in the past, as Taiwan opened up, order was not enforced, allowing deep Chinese infiltration, Wang continued.
Such activities are no longer limited to photography and fishing for military intelligence like in the past, Wang said, adding that infiltrators are developing organizations, absorbing members and sowing seeds in Taiwan through pro-China political parties or groups.
Australia and other countries have already noticed Chinese infiltration and interference, and have drawn up laws to prevent it, Wang said.
However, disagreement about identity, with the pan-blue camp not viewing China as an enemy, has made drafting legislation difficult in Taiwan, Wang added.
China uses Confucius Institutes around the world as spy agencies that infiltrate academic and cultural institutions to limit academic freedom, Tamkang University Center of Advanced Technology executive director Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲) said, adding that many countries are already on alert.
China has replicated this mode in Taiwan, infiltrating Taiwanese academia and targeting graduate students to develop groups, Su said, adding that these actions are still happening in the shadows, but could spark the next national security crisis.
To recruit Chinese students, schools have cooperated with the country and lost their independence, he said, adding that China has also used academics in science and technology to execute its plans for technological research.
On the surface, these plans are commercial or technological in nature, but they actually have military aims, Su said.
In the fields of law and politics, by hosting forums, cross-strait academic exchanges and other platforms, China gives people a stage to influence Taiwanese public opinion and defend China, Su said.
Because of academic freedom, it might be legally difficult to intervene, but the government should strengthen education and psychological defense, Su said, adding that the nation should develop a defense mechanism for its democracy similar to that of Germany.
This means amending the Political Party Act (政黨法) or the Civil Associations Act (人民團體法) to forbid the use of democratic means to reject the democratic system and forbidding organizations that reject the democratic system, among others, Su said.
FAMILY FEUD: Weng Jen-hsien, who was convicted of killing six people in 2016, was the second prisoner to be executed since President Tsai Ing-wen took office A death row inmate was executed on Wednesday, less than a year after he was convicted of killing six people by setting fire to his home. Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) said that he signed the order and the death sentence was carried out on Wednesday afternoon in New Taipei City. The Supreme Court on July 10 last year sentenced 53-year-old Weng Jen-hsien (翁仁賢) to death after he was convicted of killing his parents, niece, nephew and nephew’s wife and his parents’ caregivers. Weng set fire to his home in Taoyuan’s Longtan District (龍潭) on Feb. 7, 2016, after a family feud
HOME AWAY FROM HOME: The central government is offering subsidies to hotels to house people who have been ordered to undergo 14-day home quarantine Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) yesterday elaborated on the rules for “social distancing” and said that the government is providing subsidies to encourage more hotels to become quarantine hotels. Chen on Tuesday urged the public to practice social distancing by keeping at least 1m apart outdoors and 1.5m apart indoors. If maintaining such distances is not possible due to confined or crowded spaces, then everyone should wear a mask, Chen yesterday told a daily news briefing at the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) in Taipei. The center also suggested that people avoid exhibitions, sports events, concerts and other social
STRENGTH IN UNITY: The Executive Yuan respects KMT legislators’ viewpoints, but has no comment on calls for the premier to step down, spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday accused Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) of treating the Legislative Yuan with disdain and demanded that he apologize or step down for saying that KMT Legislator Chen Yu-jen (陳玉珍) is unfit for her job. Prior to a question-and-answer session at the legislature on Tuesday, Su was asked by reporters to comment on Chen’s remark on Monday that Taiwan is not a country. “Then she is not qualified to be a lawmaker,” the premier said. Chen made the remark during a question-and-answer session with Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通), when she asked him about his view
At a campground in Nantou County, a team of women are using ropes to shimmy up a towering seven-story tall Chinaberry tree, fighting their fear of heights and reconnecting with nature. Tree climbing remains somewhat niche in Taiwan, but a growing number of women are embracing the challenge thanks to the island’s first international certified female climber arborist. Sylvia Hsu (許芢涵), 26, said she was inspired to set up her own women-only tree climbing classes after seeing the popularity of similar gatherings in Europe. “A women-only camp is a more relaxed environment,” she said. “I was hooked on trees after my first climb...