Tue, Apr 17, 2018 - Page 3 News List

New Party denies its youth camp is ‘united front’ ploy

By Lin Liang-sheng and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明) on Sunday denied allegations that the party’s summer youth camp in China is a springboard for Beijing’s “united front” operations against Taiwan.

The History and Culture Experience Camp for Chinese Sons and Daughters is the seventh iteration of an exchange program that the party has organized since 2012, Yok said.

Yok dismissed as “groundless and absurd” allegations that the program is a conduit for Chinese espionage or “united front” work agencies.

“There is nothing mysterious about summer camps,” he said.

The program is managed by the party and the People’s Service Association Across Taiwan Strait, Yok said.

New Party spokesman Wang Ping-chung (王炳忠) and party members Hou Han-ting (侯漢廷) and Lin Ming-cheng (林明正) would each lead a group to tour a different part of China, Yok said, adding that he would personally attend the proceedings for several days.

In December last year, the Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau arrested Wang, Hou, Lin and party member Chen Ssu-chun (陳斯俊) in connection to a probe into alleged Chinese espionage.

The investigation, which the New Party denounced as political persecution, is still ongoing.

The People’s Service Association Across Taiwan Strait is a partner of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, the association’s Web site said.

The program is designed to help young people form a “correct understanding” of Taiwan and China, and welcomes the participation of all pan-blue camp supporters, but does not accept any pan-green camp supporters, Yok said.

Young people who identify as Chinese are invited to participate and the program does not promote the New Party in any way, he said.

“The New Party is not responsible for the individual choices the participants might make later,” Yok said.

Dunhuang Research Academy director Fan Jinshi’s (樊錦詩) expected meeting with the participants is probably a gesture of respect to him, Yok said.

“This is simply a polite gesture, and no stipend for meals or accommodations are offered [by Chinese],” he said, adding that participants have to pay their own air fare and other expenses.

People’s Service Association Across Taiwan Strait president Miao Chung-chien (繆中建) said the program has arranged 700 visits over the years and it combines visiting local attractions with lectures by China’s best academics.

Over the past three years, the program has taken participants to Chinese start-up centers and organized social functions with Chinese college students, with the aim of fostering Chinese identity, he said.

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