By Tsering Choephel
DHARAMSALA, 5 Oct: Two leaders of the Taiwan People’s Community Party have been indicted by prosecutors in Taiwan for alleged collusion with China in an effort to influence the January elections, as reported by The Hindu today.
According to the report from the Central News Agency (CNA), Chairman Lin Te-wang and Vice-Chairman Chen Chien-hsin were found accepting funds and other benefits from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), leading to charges of violating the Anti-Infiltration Act and the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act on 3 October.
CNA stated, “Lin failed twice in bids for local government council seats and staged protests against a visit by then-Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi last year, all allegedly funded by China.” It was further revealed that Lin allegedly worked as an advisor to the local Taiwan Affairs Office in China’s Shandong province.
China condemned the indictments on Tuesday, accusing the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DDP) of “making unjustified moves against those who advocate peaceful reunification across the Taiwan Strait.”
The upcoming Presidential and Legislative elections in Taiwan in January 2024 are crucial. Observers suspect that Beijing is exerting influence through social media, free press, and bankrolling candidates favouring Taiwan’s unification with the CCP.
Taiwan’s National Security Bureau Director-General, Tsai Ming-yen, warned the legislature’s Foreign and National Defense Committee yesterday that more Taiwanese are expected to be interrogated when traveling between China and Taiwan, as reported by Taipei Times today.
Tsai warns of CCP manoeuvres aimed at influencing the upcoming election in several ways: conducting cognitive warfare by manipulating controversial political issues, recruiting Taiwanese polling firms to survey in their favour, intensifying military threats, and imposing economic pressure on Taiwanese businesspeople in China.
“We will monitor the cash flow going to underground gambling for the upcoming elections, which could affect how people vote,” Tsai said. “China has been extending invitations to groups and individuals in Taiwan to visit China, while encouraging Taiwanese businesspeople and students to return to Taiwan to vote. We are watching to see if these moves also have a substantial impact on the elections.”
According to several reports, DDP’s presidential candidate and current Vice-President William Lai, who maintains Taiwan’s current status of de-facto independence from China, is leading in most polls.
In 2019, China’s President Xi Jinping asserted that Taiwan’s unification with China is inevitable, emphasising the use of ‘force’ if necessary to achieve that goal. Surveys, as reported in several outlets, show that the vast majority of Taiwanese oppose being ruled under the CCP and support the current status of de-facto independent Taiwan.
Taiwan People’s Communist Party was founded by the indicted Chairman Lin Te-wang in 2017.