Thu, Mar 21, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Overseas agency on alert against China

NATIONAL SECURITY:Most of the overseas community support the ROC’s ‘de facto’ independence and view China’s plans to unify Taiwan as a threat, the council said

By Lu Yi-hsuan and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A Republic of China flag, recognizable by its white sun emblem, flies alongside the Australian flag at a Lunar New Year parade in Melbourne, Australia on Feb. 10.

Screen grab from the Internet

The Overseas Community Affairs Council would begin handling its work from a national security perspective to counter China’s “united front” tactics, council Minister Wu Hsin-hsing (吳新興) said yesterday.

The council had been gathering opinions from members of overseas communities and found that most were opposed to China’s “one country, two systems” framework being applied to Taiwan, Wu said at a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee.

A majority also resolutely support the Republic of China’s (ROC) continuing de facto independence, freedom and democracy, he said.

The overseas communities view China’s plans to annex Taiwan under the “one country, two systems” framework — which Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) brought up during a speech in January marking the 40th anniversary of Beijing’s “Message to Compatriots in Taiwan” — as a threat, he said.

Beijing has also been using pro-unification groups to try to influence public opinion overseas by speaking to media outlets and holding seminars, Wu said.

“The overwhelming majority of overseas compatriots refuse to accept Beijing’s ‘one China’ principle, or its ‘one country, two systems’ framework,” he said.

China’s attempts to tie politics to ethnicity, culture, the economy and society; entice Taiwanese and overseas compatriots with economic incentives; and cause a rift in Taiwanese society demonstrate that there is need for it to be treated as a national security issue, he said.

Beijing is attempting to control the narrative when it comes to the teaching of Mandarin overseas, Chinese-language broadcasts and business opportunities for members of the overseas Chinese community as part of its comprehensive “united front” efforts, he said.

The council should send representatives overseas to give speeches about Taiwanese democracy, freedom and protection of human rights and other values, as well as its resoluteness in protecting regional security and stability, he said, adding that it would allow for more balanced and accurate information about the cross-strait relationship to be heard.

The council would abide by the directives stipulated by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) during her meeting with the National Security Council and would seek to strengthen the relationship between the government and members of overseas communities, Wu said.

The council would also continue to monitor China’s activities overseas and would respond accordingly, he said.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) asked Wu to comment on rumors that pro-Beijing elements in Australia, the US and elsewhere had begun waving ROC flags at protests and events instead of China’s flag, allegedly to protect themselves amid growing suspicion of Chinese influence in democratic countries.

Wu said that there did seem to be a growing number of ROC flags at protests and events, but that new Chinese immigrants to those countries have also been known to support the ROC.

Every overseas Chinese community is different, but in Australia the general atmosphere did seem to be one of growing support for the ROC, he added.

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