The financial scandal involving Rebar Asia Pacific Group that erupted last week once again highlights the need for a cross-strait mechanism for extraditing criminals. In the absence of such measures, unscrupulous criminals will continue taking advantage of and profiting from the political impasse between Taiwan and China to avoid suffering the repercussions of their wrongdoings.
That criminals big and small have been seeking a haven across the Strait to avoid punishment is not a new phenomenon. In fact, this practice has become so commonplace that the only reason people like Wang You-theng (
In any other country, the authorities would request the extradition of criminals via formal channels and official agreements. Taiwan does not enjoy such recourse as it only has formal agreements with a handful of countries. This stems from the fact that most countries do not recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state -- including the country where most Taiwanese fugitives flee after committing a crime, China.
It is quite unlikely that a bilateral treaty on extradition with Beijing will be inked anytime soon. Taipei should nevertheless continue to insist on establishing a system, however informal, for the extradition of wanted individuals.
A precedent was set in the 1990s when -- with assistance from the Red Cross -- Taipei and Beijing reached an agreement on the return of illegal Chinese immigrants to China.
China's image abroad has been greatly damaged by the fact that it has become a haven of choice for criminals fleeing prosecution. Beijing's inaction on this issue is in stark contrast to other countries' assistance when Beijing seeks the extradition of corrupt Chinese officials.
Last year, Beijing signed a bilateral extradition treaty with Spain -- the first developed country to enter such a treaty with China. A similar agreement with France is expected soon. Reacting to a growing number of corrupt former Chinese officials fleeing to developed countries, Beijing has been stepping up its efforts to sign extradition treaties with many of them.
What makes matters worse for Taiwan is that many of the criminals who run off to China use their stolen money to finance projects there. Adding salt to the wound, every now and then some of these criminals are wined and dined by Chinese officials. Such scenes engender great resentment, especially on the part of hardworking Taiwanese who have lost life-long savings to these criminals.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday last week met with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) at an APEC summit in Thailand. The meeting made front-page news in Japan the following day. Three years ago, when then-Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe visited Beijing to meet with Xi, no one questioned Abe’s attitude toward China, as the conservative parties in Japan had been spearheaded by Abe. However, Kishida could easily be labeled as pro-China, as he hails from Hiroshima — a place known for its anti-war, anti-nuclear movements — and was once the director of the Japan-China Friendship Association of Hiroshima.
It is quite the irony when former British prime minister Boris Johnson — a buffoon who for far too long was taken seriously — is branded a buffoon for saying something deadly serious. Following Johnson’s withering criticism of China at a business forum in Singapore on Wednesday last week, the event’s organizer, Michael Bloomberg, apologized to attendees, saying that Johnson was “trying to be amusing rather than informative and serious.” However, Johnson’s characterization of China as a “coercive autocracy” that had showed “a candid disregard for the rule of international law” was spot-on. His comments evoked the wisdom of the Austrian-British philosopher
Although internal Chinese politics are largely defined by meticulously concocted mysteries, it is an open secret that the battle for who will ascend to the highest echelons of Zhongnanhai is decided at the Beidaihe resort. It is where factions within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) engage in horse-trading over leadership selection and delegate appointments long before the party’s national congress. What unfolded at last month’s 20th National Congress was predetermined at the Beidaihe gathering in August. In this context, the CCP, and particularly Chinese President and CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping (習近平), used the event to project power and party unity.
There has been a surge of global interest in Taiwan’s security in recent years. Amidst the noise, it can be easy to lose sight of broader trends that are shaping the environment within which Taiwan operates. Taking a broader view can bring into focus what tasks are most important for Taiwan to protect its democratic way of life. At the global level, several trends are unfolding in parallel. First, great power competition is intensifying. Russia is employing violence to seek to redraw boundaries. China is advancing its ambitions by operating below the threshold of conflict. China-Russia relations are unnaturally close by