Tuesday, October 04, 2011

New era of Chinese spying dawns

The influx of Chinese tourists, investors, officials and academics in Taiwan is making it much easier for the Chinese intelligence apparatus to collect its 1,000 grains of sand

Lamentable though it may be, news last week that Central Police University associate professor Wu Chang-yu (吳彰裕, pictured) had been taken in on suspicion of passing information about dissidents to China was not shocking. However, this incident did bring into sharp contrast the dawn of a new era of Chinese “espionage” in Taiwan.

There is nothing new to espionage operations by China targeting the Taiwanese military, security apparatus, political parties and high-tech sector. Over the years, a number of Taiwanese have been caught spying for Beijing. The arrest and sentencing this year of General Lo Hsien-che (羅賢哲) for providing military secrets to China is but the latest and most prominent case in a long series of spy operations.

While it is difficult to gauge the severity of Chinese spy activity targeting Taiwan, as we only know of the cases where an agent was caught, it is safe to assume it is serious.

What is now changing — and Wu’s arrest could be the opening shot — is the context in which Chinese espionage is occurring. From 1949 until the beginning of the 21st century, China had limited opportunities to conduct human intelligence gathering on Taiwan.

My unsigned editorial, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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