A proposed anti-infiltration bill that the government says is needed to combat Chinese influence is spreading alarm among the Taiwanese business community in China, Beijing said yesterday.
The legislation is part of a years-long effort to combat what many in Taiwan see as Chinese efforts to influence politics and the nation’s democratic process.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration has begun a renewed push for the legislation, ahead of the Jan. 11 presidential and legislative elections, and it could be passed before the end of the year.
The draft bill prohibits anyone donating to a political party, influencing elections or otherwise seeking to sway in politics on the instructions of or with the financial support of “infiltration sources” — generally taken to mean China.
The DPP has been using such “law revisions” to incite hostility and restrict normal exchanges across the Taiwan Strait, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokeswoman Zhu Fenglian (朱鳳蓮) told a regular news briefing in Beijing.
“In fact, for Taiwan’s people, especially Taiwanese businessmen and students, it has already caused alarm and panic that everyone is treated as an enemy,” she said, referring to Taiwanese in China.
No matter how their tactics change, the DPP’s aim is to intimidate and punish Taiwanese who participate in exchanges across the Taiwan Strait, Zhu said.
“They are trying to use this for political gain, but they will neither succeed nor enjoy popular support,” she said.
China, with its 1.3 billion people, is Taiwan’s favorite investment destination with Taiwanese companies investing more than US$100 billion there in total, private estimates show.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), which favors close ties with China, has also condemned the proposed legislation, saying it is a “political tool” of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and the DPP to gain votes.
Tsai and the DPP have repeatedly said that the threat they face from China’s disinformation and meddling is real.
Zhu said China has never been involved in what she termed “elections in the Taiwan region.”
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