Tue, Jan 16, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Academics urge laws to stop infiltration

SAVING DEMOCRACY FROM CHINA:The director of Tamkang University’s advanced technology institute said organizations opposed to democracy should be outlawed

By Chung Li-hua and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

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.

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