On Jan. 2, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) issued a five-point statement that reflected his hope to push for “one country, two systems” in Taiwan.
The two systems have been distorted in Hong Kong and Beijing’s promise of a high degree of autonomy has proved to be a lie in the eyes of the world.
It is nothing but a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) fantasy that Taiwan would give up its freedom for authoritarian rule.
However, Hong Kong’s experience shows the Taiwanese government that it should be cautious with the CCP using shell companies as Trojan horses.
Within a week in the middle of this month, self-proclaimed “Hong Kong-funded” logistics company SF Express Taiwan (順豐速運) refused to send three “politically sensitive” books to Hong Kong, while Hong Kong-based newspapers Ta Kung Pao and Wen Wei Po used news reporting as an excuse to engage in intelligence gathering.
It is clear that the hands of China’s lackeys have reached Taiwan.
A free political environment does not come easy: It is the result of long, hard work. Taking precautions against the CCP is necessary if Taiwan is to safeguard its own system and freedom.
Simple and convenient business registration is one reason that Hong Kong has become an international financial center, but the system has also turned the territory into a paradise for intermediaries, so that actors with ulterior motives can take advantage of the system to pretend that their companies are Hong Kong-funded and use that as a cover for various forms of infiltration.
Originally, SF Express was a Chinese-owned private enterprise. After registering as a Hong Kong business, the company opened a Taiwanese branch that is headed by the Chinese founder’s wife, who has a Hong Kong identity card.
By pretending to be a Hong Kong-funded company, it was able to sidestep legal scrutiny and enter Taiwan in 2007, taking a share of the strategically sensitive logistics industry.
When the critical moment comes, such Trojan horses will come into full play immediately, with negative consequences for Taiwan.
There is no separation between economy and politics in the CCP’s governing strategy, as the economy itself is considered a political means, while political goals are carried out through economic means.
Over the past few years, Chinese-funded firms’ mergers and acquisitions of Hong Kong businesses, and Chinese investments in the local market have affected many sectors in Hong Kong.
Today, Chinese state-owned enterprises are investing in the territory’s major industries, such as the financial and telecoms sectors. In addition to taking a share of the local market, this also allows the CCP to use economic means to control Hong Kongers’ daily lives.
The same approach could be duplicated in Taiwan and the nation’s biggest vulnerability is that Chinese businesses can cloak themselves as Hong Kong-owned firms to infiltrate and invade every aspect of Taiwan, and influence local politics.
There is a debate among Taiwanese politicians about the so-called “1992 consensus” and they are so naive that they believe that the “consensus” could help them boost the economy and improve people’s lives.
As the CCP has put unification on the table, Taiwanese should have a heightened crisis awareness and never take Beijing’s political preparations lightly. They should thwart the CCP’s attempts at political interference and to use economic means to infiltrate, buy up and divide Taiwan.
Tommy Cheung is the convener of Lab in Hong Kong.
Translated by Eddy Chang
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