Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Why spy on Taiwan when Taiwan gives information away for free?

Despite improving relations, Chinese espionage against Taiwan never abated. Here are a few examples, plus worrying revelations about a firm that may have subcontracted work to a Chinese company 

Chinese espionage against Taiwan, the self-ruled, democratic island claimed by Beijing as a “breakaway” province awaiting “re-unification,” has kept intelligence experts awake at night for decades. People have long worried about aggressive espionage by China’s intelligence apparatus and leaks by members of Taiwan’s armed forces. Now, according to the island’s top intelligence chief, we have something else to fear: Government agencies giving loads of confidential information to the Chinese — for free.

Even as relations improved between the two sides following the election of President Ma Ying-jeou of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in 2008, collection by China’s civilian and military intelligence agencies targeting the island, as well as cyber intrusions, never subsided. While it would seem contradictory — and perhaps counterproductive — for Beijing to maintain an aggressive intelligence posture against the island amid warming ties, China’s multifaceted approach to Taiwan, a mix of incentives and threats, explains why. Furthermore, as growing economic and cultural ties have yet to yield political dividends for China in terms of making unification likelier, Beijing is keen on obtaining as detailed a picture of its opponent as possible should the day come when rulers in Zhongnanhai decide that non-peaceful means are necessary to resolve the issue once and for all.

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

No comments: