China is using economic incentives to target 10 types of groups in Taiwan as part of its “united front” tactics, an unnamed government official said, citing national security intelligence.
The official said the groups targeted for engagement are local townships, young people and students, Chinese spouses of Taiwanese, Aborigines, pro-China political parties and groups, temples, descendants of Chinese who retain roots in China, labor groups, farmers’ and fishermens’ associations, and military veterans.
The government had previously estimated that China spends at least NT$10 billion (US$337.8 million) per year enticing Taiwanese to join united front efforts, but they believe that there might be more “invisible funding.”
China uses economic incentives when cultivating Chinese spouses, Aboriginal leaders, and local township and religious organizations, the official said, adding that Beijing might provide free visits to China or direct benefits to improve China’s approval rating.
China is also attempting to establish internal aid in Taiwan to direct public affairs and political activities, the official said.
Different levels of officials from China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO), United Front Work Department (UFWD) of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee and other groups have used Taiwan’s pro-unification groups and pro-China associations to arrange visits to Taiwan, gradually affecting exchanges using united front strategies, another unnamed source familiar with the matter said.
Trade groups, Chinese-funded firms and the local offices of Chinese businesses have members who also hold Chinese government positions, the source said, adding that these people cooperate with instructions from China.
During former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration, Xiamen University’s Taiwan Research Institute and other Chinese think tanks researched Taiwan’s political and economic development and social sentiment for a long period in the name of academic cooperation and field research, the source said.
The organizations claimed that hotel costs were too high and rented homes in Taiwan for professors and students, the source said, adding that the groups used this opportunity to collect intelligence.
A suspected “price list” set by the TAO has emerged in a case involving New Party spokesman Wang Ping-chung (王炳忠), a national security official said.
Prosecutors have also found several million yuan in the accounts of other pro-China political parties and groups, the official said.
China has also hinted to political party members that if they gather military information in Taiwan, China would compensate them generously, while others have traveled to China to interact with national security officials and accept funds, the official added.
These cases are difficult to investigate, because it is not easy to prove that the money in those accounts was given by Chinese intelligence agencies or agencies involved with Taiwan, the official said.
Meanwhile, Chinese divisions involved with Taiwan are spread throughout several Chinese party, government and military divisions, including the UFWD, the Taiwan affairs system, think tanks and other divisions, the official said.
Taiwan has continuously tracked China’s attempts to influence Taiwanese politics and society, and has reacted appropriately, they added.
NOT BUYING IT: One of the goals of Beijing’s Cross-Strait Media People Summit was to draw mainstream media executives to discuss the ‘one country, two systems’ formula Taiwanese news media insist on press freedom and professionalism, and would never become a tool of China’s “united front” campaign, Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said yesterday, responding to media queries about the lack of Taiwanese media executives at the Cross-Strait Media People Summit in Beijing. Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Chairman Wang Huning (王滬寧) was reportedly furious that no Taiwanese media representatives attended a scheduled meeting with him on Thursday last week. “Beijing should take Taiwan’s determination to pursue freedom and democracy seriously. We also hope that it will not use vicious means to interfere with Taiwan’s development into a
IMMIGRATION REFORM: The legislative amendments aim to protect the rights of families to reunify, and to attract skilled professionals to stay and work in Taiwan Foreigners who are highly skilled professionals, top-prize winners in professional disciplines, investment immigration applicants or have made special contributions to Taiwan can soon apply for permanent residency on behalf of their spouses and minor or disabled children after the legislature approved amendments to the Immigration Act (入出國及移民法). The amendments, which were proposed by the Ministry of the Interior and approved by the Executive Yuan on Jan. 12, aim to attract foreign talent to Taiwan and encourage them to stay. They would take effect once they are signed by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文). The amendments involved changing 63 articles, making it the biggest
FIRST STEP: Business groups in Taiwan welcomed the deal, which does not include tariff reductions at this stage, as they called for the elimination of double taxation Taiwan and the US yesterday signed an initial agreement under the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade. The agreement was signed yesterday morning by Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) and American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Managing Director Ingrid Larson in Washington, the Office of Trade Negotiations in Taipei said. The ceremony was witnessed by Minister Without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中) and Deputy US Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi. Taiwan and the US started talks under the initiative in August last year, after Taipei was left out of the Washington-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. “The deal that will be signed tonight is not only very historic,
Beijing yesterday blamed US “provocation” for an incident last week in which a Chinese plane crossed in front of a US surveillance aircraft over the South China Sea. The incident came at a time of frayed ties between Washington and Beijing over issues including Taiwan and the shooting down of an alleged Chinese spy balloon that flew over the US this year. “The United States’ long-term and frequent sending of ships and planes to conduct close surveillance on China seriously harms China’s national sovereignty and security,” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mao Ning (毛寧) said when asked about the latest incident. “This