Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Taiwan's "Midterms" and Why They Matter

The elections are an opportunity for the PRC to hone its skills and to unleash the full panoply of political warfare tactics against its greatest opponent on the other side of the Taiwan Strait: President Tsai Ing-wen 

On November 24, millions of Taiwanese will go to the polls to vote for mayors and councilors in the “nine-in-one” nationwide local elections held every four years. Seen as a mid-term for President Tsai Ing-wen of the Taiwan-centric Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), this year’s local elections have also gained attention due to the level of Chinese interference involved. 

Continues here.

Monday, November 12, 2018

China Threatens the Democratic World Order—and Canada Can’t be a Weak Link

Despite our allies’ warnings, Ottawa isn’t taking the threat of authoritarian China seriously. That could be disastrous 

For many years, experts warned that China would threaten the system and values that define Western civilization. Analysts in Taiwan, Hong Kong and a handful of democracies on China’s peripheries, as well as a number of intelligence agencies worldwide, saw signs—especially after Chinese President Xi Jinping came to power—that China’s longstanding strategy of “lying low” was coming to an end. Beijing was now keen to challenge the rules of the game. 

Indeed, China was already at it, using various techniques that are now making headlines in the West. Xi himself, in addressing the Party Congress, has put much greater emphasis on, and markedly increased the capabilities of, the United Front to facilitate China’s expansionist, and now nearly global, ambitions. But we were being Cassandras, critics countered. The popular view was that engagement and, indeed, willful ignorance of the Chinese Communist Party’s starkly different worldview would eventually make China become more like us—liberal, rule-abiding, and perhaps democratic. Worse, our cautions were ascribed to a Cold War mentality, or we were being “anti-China”—racist, even. 

My op-ed for Macleans magazine continues here.

That’s What ‘Fake News’ Looks Like and What it Does to Democracy

A fabricated incident during the Kaohsiung mayoral candidates’ debate at the weekend demonstrates how disinformation can be used to undermine substance and benefit populists 

Of all the municipalities involved in the Nov. 24 “nine-in-one” local elections, Kaohsiung has turned into the major battleground, where what is at stake isn’t only whether the Kuomintang (KMT) will grab the southern port city from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) but also the future of electoral democracy itself. 

Continues here.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

‘Deep Greens’ are Playing with Fire in their Attempt to Sabotage the Tsai Administration

For those who favor a free and independent Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen remains their best bet. But they will have to learn to be a little more patient and aware of the extraordinarily difficult environment in which her administration operates 

We now live in the age of disinformation. Our news environment, our social media, are saturated with it. While the truth is out there somewhere, its signal is lost in all the noise, weakened by forces that contend for our attention, for a chance to shape our view of the world — and possibly our political decisions. Although authoritarian states like China and Russia have received the bulk of attention by concerned analysts, non-authoritarian forces that purport to defend democratic ideals have also resorted to this practice to achieve their political aims. Taiwan’s “green” camp has itself been a source, and a victim, of the disinformation campaign that has been unleashed since Tsai Ing-wen assumed the presidency on May 20, 2016. 

Continues here.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

As Taipei Celebrates Diversity, Anti-LGBT Group Warns of ‘Nefarious’ Western Influence

The conservative Happiness of the Next Generation Alliance has called on Taiwanese to resist machinations by Western countries to undermine the nation’s ‘good morals’ 

An estimated 140,000 people from Taiwan and across Asia gathered on Saturday, Oct. 27, to take part in the 2018 Taipei LGBT Pride parade. The largest in Asia, this year’s event encouraged Taiwanese participants of voter age to vote in favor of marriage equality in a referendum which will be held concurrently with nationwide municipal elections on Nov. 24. 

As always, the tens of thousands of participants joined various routes around Taipei before meeting up on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office for an evening of concerts. Various foreign diplomatic missions, among them the E.U., U.S., U.K. Australia and Canada, also led delegations during the march, distributing flags and balloons bearing the rainbow colors. 

Continues here.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Hard Edge of Sharp Power: Understanding China’s Influence Operations Abroad

In recent years, China has invested billions of dollars in an effort to boost its visibility and improve its image abroad. However, unbeknownst to many Canadians, the Chinese Communist Party has expanded its efforts, and is now increasingly relying more on unsavoury influence operations that use co-optation, bribery, incentivization, disinformation, censorship, and other methods 

Defined as “sharp power,” these sorts of activities are part of a strategy employed by authoritarian regimes to penetrate into the political, social, and economic systems of target countries in order to align them with authoritarian interests. 

To address China’s influence operations, we must first understand them. With that in mind, the Macdonald-Laurier Institute has released a new report titled The Hard Edge of Sharp Power: Understanding China’s Influence Operations Abroad. My full report for MLI is available here.

Xinjiang Will Be China’s Palestine

By so utterly mishandling Xinjiang, Beijing has opened a new front along its peripheries, one that could result in terrible violence against a growing list of Chinese ‘soft targets’ in Africa, South and Central Asia 

Among many of the troubling developments that have occurred in China in recent years, mounting — and by now incontrovertible — evidence that the Chinese regime is engaged in the social, cultural, and religious cleansing of Xinjiang’s Uighur muslims, complete with concentration camp-style “reeducation schools,” is by far the most disturbing. 

According to various investigations, supported by on-site reporting and satellite imagery, as many as 1/10th of Xinjiang’s 10 million ethnic Uighurs are currently detained in secret re-education camps around the supposedly autonomous region. Beijing, which has launched a major propaganda campaign to counter the growing scrutiny, claims that the Uighurs who are currently found in the so-called “vocational schools” have joined willingly. 

Continues here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The True 'Pivot to Asia' Is Here

The Indo-Pacific region is on the frontline of the greatest challenge to the international liberal order since the 1930s 

After years of ad hoc and flaccid engagement with the Indo-Pacific region, the United States is finally back, and the effects are already being felt. 

For far too long, a resurgent China was allowed to create facts on the ground and at sea which challenged the regional, rules-based order that had underpinned the international system since the end of World War II. Despite the Obama administration’s talk about a “pivot” and “rebalance” to Asia, Washington was largely disengaged from a region that, during the same period, had continued to gain in importance. Unopposed but by a handful of small states, China was able in 2013 to unilaterally declare an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea, and later on to “occupy” almost all of the disputed South China Sea and militarize its presence there. By the time the world finally awakened, it was too late: a new status quo had been created at sea, one which even an international court ruling had been incapable of reversing. 

Continues here.

Chinese Interference in Taiwan’s Elections is Part of a Two-Pronged Attack on Democracy

For the November elections, vote buying is no longer the purely local problem it once was. It is now directly tied to Beijing’s sustained assault on the very legitimacy of Taiwan’s democracy 

The Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB) on Monday confirmed long-suspected fears that Beijing has ramped up its efforts to interfere in the nationwide municipal elections next month. 

According to MJIB Director-General Leu Wen-jong, the bureau is currently investigating 33 cases of suspected Chinese funding of various candidates in the Nov. 24 elections, with evidence that the money is coming directly from the Chinese government. In most cases, the funds were reportedly funneled to candidates favored by Beijing via Taiwanese businesspeople with operations in China. 

Continues here.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

The Impact of China's Disinformation Operations Against Taiwan

Amid escalating tensions in the Taiwan Strait, China has intensified its disinformation activities (“fake news”) targeting Taiwan as part of a multifaceted attempt to coerce, confuse, and corrode Taiwanese society. This all-out strategy targets the Taiwanese government, Taiwanese society, and the democratic institutions and practices that underpin the nation today

Continues here.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Taiwan’s ‘Soft Power’ is Severely Underfunded — And China is Partly Responsible

There is no reason why bright young minds, research centers, web site operators, film producers and others who are committed to a free and democratic Taiwan should starve while Beijing spends billions on similar initiatives

China has invested billions of dollars in recent years to increase the appeal of its so-called “China model” and shape the global environment in its favor. As incidents in Sweden and the U.K. in recent weeks have demonstrated, the Chinese can still be rather self-defeatingly clumsy in their public diplomacy efforts. But don’t get fooled: Beijing is dead serious about this strategy: it has put its money where its mouth is, and it will get better at it. Among other things, it has acquired film studios abroad, established a global media presence, organized conferences, and used educational centers to spread its ideology. When such traditional endeavors have failed, it has used more devious means, such as political and information warfare, to get what it wants.

Continues here.

Friday, August 17, 2018

China’s Dangerous ‘Bottom-Up’ Ultranationalism and the 85℃ Incident: a Warning

By allowing netizens to define its cross-Strait policy, Beijing risks losing control of the situation and could cause severe harm to an already tense relationship 

China’s punitive “strategy” on Taiwan once again escalated this week after the Taiwanese coffee chain 85℃ Bakery Cafe came under assault by Chinese ultranationalists over a visit to one of its stores in Los Angeles by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. 

The ire was sparked by President Tsai’s visit to the coffee shop, where staff, excited to be meeting the democratically elected head of state, gave her store paraphernalia as a gift (Chinese disinformation claimed the package was stuffed with money). 

After photos of the encounter were made public, Chinese ultranationalists kicked into action and accused the chain, which operates 859 stores in China and made 64% of its Q1 revenue there, of supporting Taiwan independence. Threats of a boycott (described by the South China Morning Post as a “zealous online campaign”) were sent to the company’s Weibo account, and its Taiwan website was was knocked offline by what is believe to have been a cyber attack. The next day, Long Mingbiao, deputy director of the State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO), said China would “never allow” a company that (purportedly) supports Taiwanese independence to operate in China. 

Continues here.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Conflict in the Taiwan Strait Is No Mere ‘Family Struggle’—It’s Part of Something Much Greater

Whether we like it or not, Taiwan is in the frontline of an ongoing battle — and it is heating up — to determine the kind of world we and our children will live in for years to come 

In his latest article for the National Interest, Lyle J. Goldstein, a research professor in the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) at the United States Naval War College, builds upon a theme he explored in his 2015 book Meeting China Halfway and counters his critic, Gordon Chang, with a series of arguments that simply do not stand the test of scrutiny. 

The gist of Goldstein’s argument is that the United States should not risk the lives of tens of thousands of its servicemen and women in the defense of Taiwan should the democratic island-nation of twenty-three million people come under military assault from the People’s Republic of China (PRC). One of the reasons why the United States should avoid doing so, he avers, is that conflict in the Taiwan Strait is little more than a “family quarrel,” unfinished business from the Chinese Civil War that led to the defeat of the Kuomintang (KMT), which at the time ruled over the Republic of China (ROC), at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which after evicting the KMT in 1949 established the PRC. 

Continues here.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

WATCH: China's Military Just Released a New Video Showing Off Its Most Powerful Weapons

The video is brimful with the grandiosity that is now associated with the military under Xi Jinping: a lot of ammunition is fired, and the very latest in China’s military technology — combat aircraft, a carrier battle group, long-range ballistic missiles, submarines and armored vehicles — is on full, proud, active display 

On Aug. 1 a video titled “I am a Chinese Soldier” began circulating in China and quickly went viral on social media as the country marked Army Day. 

The slick, 2 min 20 second production emphasizes the personal sacrifices made by members of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), who leave their families behind to resolutely defend the nation and its claimed territory. 

Continues here. (Note that the carrier battle group shown in the video is actually...from the U.S. Navy!)

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

‘Peaceful Unification’ Is Dead and Buried

The Chinese Communist Party uses ‘peaceful’ as a cover, a smokescreen to isolate and sideline whomever opposes its objective of annexing Taiwan. It is in fact coercive, one-sided, certainly not magnanimous, and increasingly punitive in its response to the resistance this project has encountered 

Hardly a week goes by without Chinese leader Xi Jinping, a spokesperson at the State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office, or a political commentator at some institute somewhere in China emphasizing China’s desire for “peaceful unification” with Taiwan. The expression has a nice, soothing din to it — after all, who opposes peace, or the peaceful resolution of a decades-long conflict? Only radicals, extremists, or groups with unsavory ties to foreign imperialist powers could possibly seek to derail such lofty goals. 

There are two fundamental problems with that formulation. 

Continues here.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

China’s Bullying of Taiwan Highlights its Helplessness Against the Drift of Taiwanese Society

Beijing’s hopes for a gradual unification of Taiwan with China have been frustrated, not by Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP, but by Taiwanese society’s growing drift from China. Unable to admit this, China has resorted to heavy-handed tactics that is pushing the Taiwanese further away 

The election of Tsai Ing-wen of the Taiwan-centric Democratic Progressive Party in January 2016 marked the end of a phase in cross-strait relations when Beijing still believed in the possibility of winning the hearts and minds of the Taiwanese through “goodwill” and economic incentives. Since then, Beijing has embraced a strategy that seeks to corner, isolate and punish Taiwan for its intransigence on the unification question. 

Although many would ascribe that change in attitude to the 2016 elections and blame the Tsai administration’s refusal to acknowledge the so-called “1992 consensus” for the souring relations, this reckoning actually occurred earlier – two years earlier, in 2014, when the Sunflower student movement derailed the partial rapprochement that had prevailed since 2008 under former president Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomintang. More than an incident over a particular trade agreement, the movement epitomised a society’s refusal to associate too closely with authoritarian China, a reality that not only contributed to Tsai’s victory but also to the KMT’s dismissal of its initial candidate for the presidency, who was regarded as too ideologically close to Beijing – even for the blue camp’s taste. 

Continues here.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Disinformation Targets Legitimacy of Taiwan’s Passport

A rumor claiming that Taiwanese can no longer use their passport to board international flights and that the E.U. had revised its visa-free entry policy for Taiwanese nationals has forced the Taiwanese government to respond. Expect more such incidents as China ramps up its disinformation campaign 

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday was forced to step in and deny an Internet rumor that from July 25 international airlines no longer recognized the Republic of China (Taiwan) passport and that Taiwanese nationals no longer enjoyed visa-free entry into the U.K. and the E.U. 

The rumors, which spread on various online platforms including the popular Line application, stemmed from a message alleging that a Taiwanese national had been unable to board an Air Canada flight because the airline no longer recognized the ROC passport “due to pressure from China” and the fact that “Taiwan is not recognized as a country.” Only after presenting his Taiwan ID card was the man allowed to board the plane, the message claimed. “Two people with Taiwanese passports have already been denied boarding, so please remember to bring your [Taiwan] ID card,” it said. 

Continues here.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Unity Is Key to Countering China’s ‘Sharp Power’

China is in conflict with a world order and a system of rules and beliefs that it now regards as an impediment to its ambitions. As its influence activities corrode the democratic firewall that unites and protects us, we must respond with our own united front 

As the world begins to understand the scope and ramifications of China’s “sharp power,” it has become evident that in the 21st century, Taiwan will be an indispensable partner to the international community as it strives to counter efforts by revisionist forces and defend the democratic values that we cherish. More than ever, it is clear that China’s unending — and intensifying — assault on Taiwan is an assault on the entire liberal democratic order that has underpinned our societies since the end of World War II. 

Continues here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

China’s Great Squeeze Strategy Against Tsai Ing-wen

Beijing seeks to isolate Taiwan and condition its people and the international community to accept a ‘new normal.’ It also seeks to widen differences not only between the ‘blue’ and ‘green’ camps in Taiwan politics, but also between the ‘mainstream’ and ‘radical’ greens and thus spark a dangerous vicious circle 

Beijing has precious few partners left back in Taiwan to help it engineer the “peaceful” unification that is at the core of Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s “great rejuvenation” ambitions. In fact, trends over the years and Beijing’s inability to come up with a formula that can have a modicum of appeal among the Taiwanese have put the lie to the notion that unification can occur without a largely coercive component. 

Forget the Taiwan Affairs Office’s “31 incentives” unveiled earlier this year, or the trickle of delegations by marginal members of the “blue” and “red” camps to Beijing, or the United Front forums organized here and there to cultivate a pro-Beijing youth among the Taiwanese. None of those measures will succeed in generating enough momentum to shift overall perceptions of China in Taiwan. 

Continues here.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

It's Time to Stop China's Seaward Expansion

Through our inattention, we have lost control of the South China Sea, which Beijing now occupies and has militarized. It is now time to push back, and the best place to do so is in the East China Sea 

There was a time, when President Barack Obama was still in the White House, when the U.S.-led coalition in the Asia-Pacific could have responded to, and perhaps countered, the creeping occupation and militarization of the South China Sea. According to many security experts, the window for such action has now closed, and Beijing has successfully created irreversible facts on the ground. If that is indeed the case, then freedom of navigation operations (FONOPS) and other measures are too little, too late. China has engineered a new status quo in the South China Sea, and efforts to counter its larger ambitions should henceforth focus elsewhere. 

What is perhaps most surprising about what has occurred in the South China Sea in the past decade isn’t so much that China has succeeded in building a series of artificial islands and militarizing what it regards as its “lake,” but rather that the international community would be caught unawares by the current state of affairs. From the outset, Beijing telegraphed its intentions in the South China Sea, and if it has become a no-go zone for others in the region, and for the United States, it is largely the result of our inattention and our failure to read the tea leaves. 

Continues here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Threatened Ban on Hong Kong National Party Signals Beijing’s Weakness

One hell of a contrast: As Beijing renders illegal small political parties in the Hong Kong experiment with autonomy, Taiwan has moved in the opposite direction, even allowing the existence of political parties that openly advocate for unification 

Hong Kong authorities this week signaled that the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party (HKNP) could be banned under the Societies Ordinance. 

If HKNP is banned, it would be illegal to be a member of the party, to raise funds for it or to act on its behalf. Violators could face up to three years imprisonment and a HK$12,000 fine. Party leaders have been given three weeks to make the case as to why HKNP should not be slapped a prohibition order, which would ostensibly be issued “in the interest of national security.” 

Continues here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Xi-Lien Meeting: Same Old Platitudes, With Two Possible Gems

Given how little the two men gave us to run with, all we’re left with is what wasn’t said, or things half-said, which may give us a glimpse of the unconscious elements that fuel the narrative. If we’re lucky, those may yield opportunities for conflict resolution 

Anyone who expected substance from last Friday’s meeting in Beijing between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and former Kuomintang (KMT) chairman Lien Chan was probably asking for the impossible. As expected, the two men mostly regurgitated the same old platitudes about “one China” and the “rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” 

The fact that Xi can only meet someone like Lien, whose relevance in Taiwanese affairs has markedly dimmed over the years, speaks volumes about Beijing’s inability to entertain contact with people who can actually influence the shape and direction of Taiwanese politics. In fact, Xi has largely limited himself to meetings with people, like the 81-year-old Lien, the unelectable Hung Hsiu-chu (dumped by her own party ahead of the 2016 elections), and Yok Mu-ming, chairman of the marginal pro-unification New Party, who are unlikely to challenge him and whose views, I must add, are completely out of sync with the large majority of Taiwanese — in both the “green” and “blue” camps.  

Continues here.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Taiwan in Dead Center of China’s Greater Territorial Ambitions

Beijing is determined to rewrite the rules in the Asia-Pacific region. No matter who occupies the Presidential Office in Taipei, that will be a problem for them 

China on Monday accused the United States of “playing psychological games” and “harming peace and stability” after two U.S. Navy warships transited the Taiwan Strait over the weekend, the first such passage since July 2017. 

The Japan-based USS Mustin and USS Benfold Arleigh Burke-class destroyers made the transit in international waters late on Saturday evening as part of routine freedom of navigation passages. U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman Capt. Charlie Brown said that “U.S. Navy ships transit between the South China Sea and East China Sea via the Taiwan Strait and have done so for many years.” 

Continues here.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Neutrality for Taiwan: A Dangerous Proposal

Former vice president Annette Lu and her supporters have floated the idea of a ‘neutral’ Taiwan that is ‘devoted to peace.’ Not only is that proposal based on a naive view of China, it could take Taiwan down the road to ruin 

Sometime in 2014, former vice president Annette Lu and other luminaries launched her Peace and Neutrality for Taiwan Alliance, an initiative that seeks to secure genuine political neutrality for Taiwan as the region becomes a battleground for U.S. and Chinese influence. 

Under Lu’s proposal, which would come in the form of a referendum, Taiwan would “give up confrontation with China, and … proclaim to the world that we want peace and neutrality. “We will forge friendship with every country that is friendly to us, including China,” she told a press conference last year. 

Continues here.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Is Taiwan Ready for an Aggressive China?

Despite the rhetoric, Beijing still has not made Taiwan its No. 1 priority. Taipei cannot afford to wait for the day when it does, and in the meantime could made a few policy changes that would increase its chances of survival 

For all the harsh rhetoric coming out of China and growing frequency of exercises by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), it remains far from convincing that the unification of Taiwan is the top priority for Beijing. But that could change, and when it does, Taiwan had better be prepared to meet that extraordinary challenge. The problem is that, sadly, there are few signs of serious preparation in Taipei for that day. 

Things could be far worse. Notwithstanding Beijing’s saber-rattling and the lifting of term limits for President Xi Jinping, Taiwan remains one of a series of issues with which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has to grapple. Besides a looming trade war with America and spreading blowback by countries that feel threatened by China, there is every indication that the Chinese economy is headed for trouble. It is rife with contradictions and unsustainable in its present form. Although the economy will not contribute to the collapse of China or of the removal of the CCP from control, it is nevertheless sufficient to make President Xi uncertain as to his grip on power. In fact, Xi is increasingly paranoid about those who might want to unseat him—especially now that constitutional mechanisms for doing so have been dispensed with. The tightening of controls over almost every sector of Chinese society, as well as increased restrictions on the ability of Chinese to interact with their foreign counterparts, tells of a regime that feels insecure. In other words, China’s CCP and Xi is feared rather than loved. Therefore, state stability and regime survival, are the CCP’s top priority and will remain so for the foreseeable future. 

Continues here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Say What You Want, Opposing Same-Sex Marriage Is Not a Human Right

Expanding human rights so that visible minorities are treated as equals under the law should be the aspiration of any democratic society. The granting of such rights may clash with the views, opinions and beliefs of certain groups and individuals. But it does not, in any way, violate their human rights 

As anti-LGBT groups in Taiwan continue to warn society of the purported dangers associated with the legalization of same-sex unions, many have turned the tables on the issue by claiming that opposition to gay marriage is a human right and that it ought to be protected under the democratic principle of freedom of expression. 

By doing so, opponents seek to create a moral equivalence, one in which there is no right or wrong. This argument creates losers no matter what: as long as the issue continues to be debated, gays and lesbians remain unable to form a union like the rest of us; and should laws be promulgated that do permit same-sex unions, the losers would be the opponents, whose human rights would be “violated.”  

Continues here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

JAL, ANA Show How to Respond to Chinese Pressure

Yes, the two Japanese carriers have given in to Chinese pressure. But they may have found a formula that meets Beijing’s demands without imposing China’s ‘Orwellian nonsense’ on the rest of us 

Since April, dozens of airlines providing flights to China have been pressured by Chinese authorities to change how they refer to Taiwan on their web sites so as to avoid any reference that my suggest statehood for the island-nation. With very few exceptions, airlines have yielded to those demands and now refer to Taiwan as “Taiwan, China,” “Taipei, CN,” or other such designations. 

In many cases, governments have been reluctant to involve themselves in the matter, arguing that it is not their place to interfere in the decisions of private entities. Some governments have even denied being approached by airlines that sought assistance and guidance as they struggled to deal with the matter. (I’ve argued elsewhere that governments must regard this issue as a matter of foreign interference in our countries.) 

Continues here.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Nice Democracy You’ve Got There. Be a Shame If Something Happened to It

China's Communist Party is using thuggish proxies to disrupt Taiwan and Hong Kong 

Secret societies, criminal organizations, and triads have existed for centuries in China, but most were chased out after the victory of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the 1949 civil war. Triads continued to flourish in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan — where many fled alongside Chiang Kai-shek’s defeated Nationalists. But while the CCP drove them out of the mainland, the party has found them a very useful tool to disrupt and frustrate opponents in societies such as Taiwan and Hong Kong, where resistance to the party runs high. 

The CCP only had to turn to the Nationalists to see the benefits of secret societies. In the early days of the civil war, Chiang often relied on the Green Gang, a secret society based in Shanghai, to gather information on Communists and assault them physically when necessary. Chiang’s Nationalists had also developed a relationship with the 14K, a triad that, like the Green Gang, harassed Communists and relocated to Hong Kong after the war. 

Continues here.

Friday, June 01, 2018

Worry Not: The New AIT Compound in Taipei Will Not Derail US-China Relations

Much speculation has surrounded this month’s opening of the new de facto U.S. embassy in Taiwan and the effects it could have on Sino-American relations and efforts to resolve the North Korea issue. There is no reason why the ceremony should affect any of this 

After years of delays, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the U.S.’ new de facto embassy in Taiwan, will hold a ceremony on June 12 to dedicate its new complex in Neihu. Much speculation — and misunderstanding — has surrounded the event. This includes fears, in some circles, that the ceremony could “anger” Beijing or derail plans for a U.S.-North Korea summit the same week. 

At the heart of the issue are questions about which senior official, if any, the Donald Trump administration will send to the event, especially after the president’s signing, earlier this year, of the Taiwan Travel Act, a piece of legislation which encourages exchanges by senior U.S. and Taiwanese officials. 

Continues here.

Friday, May 25, 2018

China’s Bullying of Taiwan: External Distraction for an Underperforming CCP?

Beijing’s harassment of Taiwan is not only failing, it serves as a distraction for a regime in Beijing that has done very little to help the nearly quarter of a billion Chinese who have not touched the benefits of economic growth, or to address the many challenges that threaten the future stability of the country 

China’s efforts to isolate and pressure Taiwan have intensified as President Tsai Ing-wen marked the second anniversary of her inauguration in May 20. Airlines, global firms and now some foreign media with a presence in China have received “orders” from Chinese authorities on how to refer to Taiwan on their sites and in their publications, and many have acceded to hose demands. Meanwhile, Beijing again this year succeeded in holding global health hostage by preventing Taiwan’s participation at the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva. And exercises by the Chinese military have continued apace, with People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft getting dangerously close to Taiwanese airspace. 

Continues here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Ottawa Can’t Shirk Responsibility in China-Taiwan Air Canada Controversy

The Trudeau government’s cowardly response to Air Canada’s decision to list Taiwan as part of China could damage Canada’s reputation abroad 

The decision by Air Canada earlier this month to give in to Chinese pressure on international airlines and to refer to Taiwan as “Taipei, CN” on its website has caused a stir in political circles and drawn renewed attention to the need for Ottawa to stand up for the values that define Canadians. The Canadian government simply cannot afford to avoid the issue. Ultimately, this intrusion in our domestic affairs affects the reputation of Canada abroad as a [...] 

Continues here (paywalled).

Tuesday, May 22, 2018





Continues here.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

As Airlines Give In to Chinese Pressure, Taiwan Needs a Strategy to Hit Back

Citizens or Taiwan’s Civil Aviation Administration could initiate legal action in Taiwan or in other jurisdictions against airlines that list Taiwan as part of China, as doing so violates consumer rights and breaks Taiwan’s domestic laws 

The recent decision by a number of international airlines to give in to pressure from Beijing and to remove all references suggesting Taiwan’s statehood from their web sites has sparked outrage in Taiwan and abroad. Earlier this week, Air Canada became the latest airline to do so, and began advertising flights to Taiwan under the designation “Taipei, CN.” 

At least 12 airlines since January have complied with a request by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) to abide by Chines law, chief among them laws which stipulate that Taiwan, like Macau and Hong Kong, is territory which belongs to China. 

Continues here
Chinese-language version in CNA here.