Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The return of gangster politics in Taiwan

Less than a year after his return to Taiwan, a top Bamboo Union leader-turned-politician is using scare tactics in a way that undermines Taiwan's democracy and social stability

For those who are getting bored with the traditional “green” versus “blue” divide in Taiwan’s politics, things are becoming a lot more interesting with the return to Taiwan, after 17 years in exile, of the most-wanted fugitive-turned-politician Chang An-le in June 2013. Since his return, Chang, a former leader of the Bamboo Union triad and founder of a pro-unification party, appears to have embraced Taiwan’s democratic system by appearing on TV shows and opening campaign offices around the country. But old habits die hard, and the 65-year-old has resorted to threats and intimidation to leave his mark on local and national politics.

The White Wolf, as Chang is also known, returned to Taiwan in late June 2013, and was promptly arrested at Taipei International Airport (Songshan) by police officers. Hours later, he was released on NT$1 million (about US$30,000) bail, and immediately embarked on a campaign to spread his “peaceful reunification” propaganda, which he had condensed into a small blue booklet. Since then, Chang has opened a number of political offices around the country, with no known date for court appearances.

My article, published today in The Diplomat, continues here. (Photo by the author)

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