Wednesday’s indictment of New Party spokesman Wang Ping-chung (王炳忠) and other party members on charges of organizing a spy network and violating national security laws highlights the broadening scope of China’s espionage operations and “united front” work tactics against Taiwan, political commentator Yang Wei-chung (楊偉中) said yesterday.
Two Chinese government agencies appear to have been directing the spying, intelligence gathering and recruitment of favorable targets, Yang said: China’s Taiwan Affairs Office’s (TAO) Political Party Bureau and the Shanghai Liaison Bureau of the Political Work Department of the Chinese Central Military Commission, an important body of the Chinese Communist Party.
It is known that the TAO directs Chinese programs and policies involving Taiwan, while the liaison bureau and Central Military Commission’s work covers a broad range of fields and activities, he said.
“Much of the Chinese government’s external liaison work entails espionage and intelligence gathering, along with media and propaganda campaigns against foreign countries,” Yang said.
“Their ‘liaison work’ also includes subversion tactics, infiltration into foreign countries’ armed forces and political circles, and consolidating dissident forces that support China’s cause,” he added.
Taipei prosecutors indicted Wang and New Party youth wing executives Ho Han-ting (侯漢廷) and Lin Ming-cheng (林明正) for organizing a spy network with funding from China, while Wang’s father, Wang Chin-pu (王進步), was indicted as an accessory.
The suspects allegedly worked with convicted Chinese spy Zhou Hongxu (周泓旭), their liaison with the Chinese agencies, who directed recruitment efforts and “united front” work in Taiwan from his “Star Fire Secret Unit” (星火秘密小組), prosecutors said.
Under Zhou’s guidance and with Chinese financial assistance, Wang and his fellow party members set up the pro-unification propaganda Web site Fire News (燎原新聞網), they said.
They also started the Association of New Chinese Sons and Daughters, the Chinese Culture Rejuvenation Association — a student club at National Taiwan University — and other social and cultural organizations aimed at attracting like-minded students and young people, prosecutors said.
“Through these organizations, the defendants set up informative Web sites to promote their work, created fan pages on social media, and organized social activities and academic seminars,” the indictment said.
Prosecutors said nine retired and active military personnel were contacted to obtain classified materials and Lin was found to have provided Zhou with personal information and contact details of soldiers in the Army Aviation and Special Forces Command’s elite unit, the Airborne Special Service Company.
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