Chinese attempts to influence overseas communities has “never ceased,” even as Taiwan seizes opportunities to expand its educational reach abroad, Overseas Community Affairs Council Minister Tung Chen-yuan (童振源) said yesterday, while urging continued vigilance against Beijing’s “united front” campaigns.
Speaking at a regular meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee, Tung discussed China’s recent “united front” efforts abroad.
Beijing has been revealing its ambition to endanger the global order through authoritarianism, he said, citing its deliberate concealment of COVID-19 at the beginning of the outbreak in Wuhan in 2019, crackdowns in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, and sabotage of cross-strait relations, as well as infiltration of academia through its Confucius Institutes.
Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times
These actions have deepened distrust of China among global democracies such as Australia, the UK and the US, and countries in Europe, which have been shutting the institutes down in droves, he said.
Various high-level government officials and international organizations have reiterated the importance of stability in the Taiwan Strait and Indo-Pacific region — including the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue and the AUKUS security alliance of Australia, the UK and the US — underscoring their deep concern for Taiwan’s strategic value, he said.
Amid such international support, Taiwan has more opportunities to promote Chinese-language education and connect with overseas communities in the US and Europe, Tung said.
However, Tung also called for vigilance against unceasing “united front” attempts to influence overseas communities.
The nation has been taking advantage of countries’ closing their Confucius Institutes to expand its own educational reach abroad, making effective use of Taiwan’s advanced educational technologies and quality instruction, Tung said.
By the end of March, the council had helped establish 45 Taiwan Centers for Mandarin Learning in the US and Europe, he said.
Overseas communities have also expressed their support of Taiwan by promoting the nation’s involvement in international organizations, Tung added.
For example, 163 events were held in 43 regions last year calling for Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Assembly, with participation from 800 organizations and 17,055 people, he said.
In North American alone, 41 events involving 316 overseas community groups and 6,000 participants called for Taiwan’s inclusion in the UN, he added.
After the nation on Sept. 22 last year officially applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, the World Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce also established a working group to promote Taiwan’s inclusion, Tung said, touting the examples as confirmation of a deep passion for Taiwan among its overseas communities.
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