Under exceptional circumstances or between trusting allies, countries will sometimes exchange police, customs inspectors, military personnel and intelligence officers to fulfill liaison requirements. When the situation warrants it, or when allies are especially close, those officers will sometimes be granted extraterritorial powers — in other words, the right to enforce the law on another country’s territory.
Such a measure was launched in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the US amid global efforts to combat the proliferation of dangerous weapons. In 2002, for example, the US and Canada launched talks to place customs inspectors on each other’s territory to inspect the millions of tonnes of cargo that arrive at North American ports each year. A similar move, known as the Container Security Initiative, was made by the US Department of Homeland Security whereby US inspectors were placed at major ports around the world to look for chemical, biological and nuclear material.
In every case, the postings were made possible either as the result of high levels of trust between the participating countries, or for immediate security considerations based on a serious threat.
News last week that Taiwan’s Crime Investigation Bureau (CIB) may be considering an initiative in which Chinese police officers would be deployed in Taiwan — and vice versa — could be rationalized in the light of such global initiatives.
The problem, however, is that the level of trust necessary for this measure to be undertaken is lacking and crime-fighting in the Taiwan Strait does not threaten security to the extent that it would make this move imperative — not to mention the odious symbolism of the presence of Chinese police on Taiwanese soil.
Another factor that, in other scenarios, makes officer exchanges possible is mutual recognition of sovereignty among all participants and the limits on extraterritoriality that this implies.
When it comes to China, however, the fact that it does not recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state and claims it as its own poses additional problems. Among these are the specters of the application of Chinese law on Taiwanese territory and the reinterpretation of Taiwanese laws that could stretch the definition of crime to include “splittism” and speech on topics that are illegal in China.
The initiative also raises questions such as whether Chinese police officers would have power of arrest or be limited to working as liaison officers. Would they be allowed to carry weapons? To investigate? Collect intelligence on dissident groups in Taiwan? Which chain of command would they answer to? If they overstepped their responsibilities, would they be subject to reprimand, or be demoted based on Taiwanese law or China’s?
Despite the need for cross-strait cooperation in fighting crime, the problem is not serious enough and Beijing not trustworthy enough to require the presence of Chinese police in Taiwan. While liaison officers would be acceptable, anything more would be catastrophic for the sovereignty of this nation and should be vigorously opposed. Otherwise, given Beijing’s non-recognition of Taiwan and the risk that these personnel could be used as fifth columnists, allowing Chinese police to operate in Taiwan would be akin to the Czechs welcoming Soviet police to their country prior to the invasion in 1968.
We’ve already seen a surge in police abuse since President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) came to office. The last thing this country needs is the presence of police from a country whose legal system is the byproduct of an authoritarian and colonial mindset.
While the nation grapples with its falling birthrate, it is also imperative to address how parents are raising their children. The phenomenon of “dinosaur parents” — who lash out at teachers, store staff or people on the street when confronted about their children misbehaving — has been an issue for a while, but there seems to be an uncomfortably high number of incidents making the news lately. On Saturday, a preschool teacher on an online forum wrote about a mother who often visited the school and screamed at the staff for various reasons — including her child being late to school
Americans tend to think of Vietnam as a war that split the US rather than as a country in today’s world. Vietnamese are of course way past that. The country does not have any US Electoral College votes, but if it did, they would be cast enthusiastically for US President Donald Trump. When I told a group of university students at a park in Ho Chi Minh City that I was from the US, they asked: “Do you know why we love Trump?” “Uhhh, is it because he hates China?” I asked back. “Yeah,” the group responded in unison. With a 1,000-year history of
Beijing’s media mouthpieces in Hong Kong last week reported that China is planning to create a list naming “die-hard Taiwan independence activists,” and that those on the list would be “severely punished” and “held accountable for as long as they live.” On Wednesday, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) said that “they and their financiers” and other supporters would be “cracked down on in accordance with the law,” although “the legal rights and interests of the wider population of Taiwanese compatriots” would be fully protected. With threats and division, in addition to military pressure, Beijing has now added this trick to its
According to newspaper reports, the Ministry of Education has responded to a teacher-student romance — between a 34-year-old female professor, surnamed Lin (林), and a male graduate student — that occurred several years ago while Lin was still an associate professor serving as the student’s master’s thesis adviser at National Taipei University of Technology. The ministry said the university’s lecturer evaluation committee has passed a resolution to issue a written warning to Lin for breaching her contract, and suspend subsidies for the department at which she teaches for one year. The ministry also said that the case fell under the