Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Taiwan gun group joins global fight to bear arms

The organization has a goal to see 8 million people in Taiwan own a gun and 5 million people obtain a license to carry concealed firearms

The Taiwan Defensive Firearms Association (TDFA) earlier this month became a member of the International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR), a global gun rights association working to protect and expand the ability to keep and bear arms around the globe.

In a press release, IAPCAR said the TDFA was joining 16 other groups from nine countries on five continents that represent millions of firearm owners and citizens concerned about civilian gun rights.

“The IAPCAR coalition defending gun rights worldwide continues to grow and we are proud to have Taiwan join with us,” IAPCAR executive director Philip Watson is quoted as saying.

“The Taiwan Defensive Firearms Association is an important addition in our battle to protect the human right of self-defense,” Watson said.

The TDFA is reported to be Taiwan’s highest profile gun advocacy association, which according to its Web site opened its office in Taipei in May last year, with Boris Yang acting as chairman.

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

Making Taiwan an end in itself

China has had plenty of opportunities to learn from democracies in the past decades, and yet remains authoritarian. The idea that contact with Taiwan will yield different results is a mistaken one

Despite the occasional suggestion by a handful of US academics that Washington should “abandon” Taiwan to its “inevitable” fate of unification with China, a good number of experts and officials maintain that the nation of 23 million cannot simply be willed out of existence and must therefore be dealt with.

Welcome though this defense of Taiwan may be, a surprisingly large number of such proponents, often in the same breath, add that democratic Taiwan is useful because it serves as an example for China, encouraging the incremental democratization and liberalization of the authoritarian giant next door.

Using terminology like “the first Chinese democracy,” such individuals fail to recognize that Taiwan is a distinct entity unto itself, or that the existence of its 23 million people is more than a means to an end.

Although qualitatively better than the argument that Taiwan should be forsaken by its allies and protectors for the sake of better relations with Beijing, the case that the nation is “useful” because it can foster change in China fails on moral grounds.

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

Monday, October 24, 2011

Interview: Wolfowitz praises Taiwan’s democratic legacy

Former US deputy secretary of defense and current US-Taiwan Business Council chairman Paul Wolfowitz, one of the architects of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, sat down with me in Taipei on Saturday night to discuss US arms sales, the future of Taiwan and cross-strait relations

Taipei Times (TT): What brings you to Taiwan this time around?

Paul Wolfowitz (PW): Every year or so, we [the US-Taiwan Business Council] get out here to meet officials and get a reading of the state of things. With the political competition as intense as it is, we felt it would be interesting to get a feel for that.

I’d like to come back in January and actually see what the election is like. If you think about it, this [will be] only the fifth democratic election in Chinese history. It’s still not something to take for granted and I think what’s happening here is important for China.

It’s commonly said in American policy discourse that Taiwan is an obstacle in US-China relations — and I know what this means — but I think it’s wrong not to recognize this as an opportunity. One of the things that struck me is how many people I met in the last few days who said the Chinese tourists who come here spend a lot of time in their hotel rooms watching Taiwanese talk shows. The fact that this can happen is a relatively good thing.

One has to give a little bit of credit to the regime on the mainland, which I am not known for giving enormous amount of credit to, for they’re willing to let this happen by the millions. I do think there is recognition that there has to be change to their system over time. The long-term trend is that developments here can be educational to China.

My Q&A with Wolfowitz, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here. This article does not include other topics discussed during the hour-long interview, such as revolution in the Arab world and the invasion of Iraq. Wendell Minnick of Defense News will have a report on the same interview on the DN Web site later today.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Deterrence key to curbing China, report says

The greatest deterrent of all, the authors argue, are the historically unparalleled economic consequences that would result from a Sino-American conflict

Armed conflict between the US and China during the next 20 years is improbable, provided Washington retains the capacity to deter behavior that would lead to such a clash, a US think tank says in a new report.

In an occasional paper titled Conflict with China: Prospects, Consequences and Strategies for Deterrence prepared by RAND Corp for the US Army, the authors say China’s security interests and military capabilities for the next two decades are expected to remain focused on its immediate periphery, with conflict likeliest to occur over Taiwan, the Korean Peninsula, one or more countries in Southeast Asia or India.

“China is seeking neither territorial aggrandizement nor ideological sway over its neighbors,” the report says. “It shows no interest in matching US military expenditures, achieving a comparable global reach or assuming defense commitments beyond its immediate periphery.”

While such intentions could change, the US would probably receive considerable warning of such a shift, given the lead time needed to develop the capabilities needed for a new strategy that would seek to alter China’s current emphasis on regional contingencies.

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Basic Education Act forces silence on school campuses

Though far from desirable, regulations banning political activity on campuses ahead of elections are the result of Taiwan’s idiosyncratic history. Strangely enough, they are also the lesser of two evils

With the January elections approaching, the nation’s universities received a reminder from the Ministry of Education earlier this month that campuses must respect certain rules regarding political activity to ensure neutrality.

For academics and rights activists who look at the regulations from a strictly Western, liberal perspective, the limitations imposed on campus might sound like echoes of the nation’s authoritarian past — and they do — but not necessarily for the reasons that immediately come to mind.

First, let’s take a look at the restrictions contained in Article 6 of the Basic Education Act (教育基本法), which lays out the principles about “educational neutrality” and reinforces the need for “peace and quiet” from learning environments during elections.

Under the rules, schools may not help spread word or beliefs of particular political parties and organizations in charge of administrative functions cannot force administrative personnel, teachers or students to participate in any activities held by political (or religious) parties.

My unsigned editorial, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here. Below is a transcription of the MOE letter sent to National Sun Yat-Sen University on Oct. 6, provided to me by a source.

檔  號:
教育部 函
傳 真:(02)23977022
電 話:(02)77365938




安寧,並依說明事項配合辦理,請 查照。




Monday, October 17, 2011

Philippines airs concerns over Taiwanese missile plan

Washington also weighed in on Friday, cautioning all claimants to the disputed islets to avoid sparking an arms race and to resolve the disputes in accordance with international law

A Philippine military spokesman yesterday said alleged plans by the Taiwanese military to deploy surface-to-air missiles on Taiping Island (太平島) in the South China Sea could fuel tensions in the region and be seen as an act of aggression by other claimants to a series of disputed islets.

Calling the move “unsettling” and “uncalled for,” Philippine Defense Department spokesman Zosimo Paredes said how other countries in the region would react to what he saw as an “out of the ordinary” move by Taiwan remained to be seen.

Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱) on Wednesday gave signs he supported a proposal by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) at the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to deploy the Air Force’s Antelope air defense system — a derivative of the indigenous Tien Chien I “Sky Sword” (天劍一, TC-1) air-to-air missile used on the CK-1 Indigenous Defense Fighter — or the US-made M48A2 “Chaparral” on Taiping.

Paredes, who said Manila was prepared to “defend to the hilt” islets it already occupied in the Spratly Islands (南沙群島), nevertheless attempted to play down the significance of the news.

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

Retired officers’ visits to China part of united front efforts

Not only are retired Taiwanese generals part of the program, but China has also begun inviting former intelligence officers

A new study on the rising number of retired senior Taiwanese military officers who visit China concludes that retired officials of “mainland” heritage represent the constituency in Taiwan most likely to support unification and could serve as willing conduits for Chinese propaganda intended to manipulate public perceptions in Taiwan.

“Retired Taiwanese military officers have visited China in an individual capacity for many years,” writes John Dotson, a research coordinator on the staff of the congressionally mandated US-China Economic and Security Review Commission in the latest issue of the Jamestown Foundation’s China Brief.

“More organized exchanges between retired Chinese and Taiwanese flag officers — initiated primarily from the Chinese side — have expanded significantly in scale since 2009, he adds.

Although the Ministry of National Defense says it does not authorize such visits, it has done nothing to curb the practice, which has raised concerns among US defense officials over the potential for leaks of sensitive military information or the creation of a back channel for secret negotiations.

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

Friday, October 14, 2011

NTU drops ‘national’ when cooperating with China

Aside from the name change, a list of visiting scholars at the department of humanities and social sciences shows that of the 52 foreign academics taken in this year, 46 are from China

Almost every department at National Taiwan University (NTU), the nation’s top academic institution, is dropping the “N” from the school’s initials when it holds joint conferences with Chinese schools or cooperates on academic work, sources said yesterday.

The practice, described as “university-wide,” began more than a year ago, a source at the university told the Taipei Times on condition of anonymity, referring to official documents on conferences and panels held with Chinese universities.

According to another academic at the school who was also in a position to see the documents, the removal of the “N” in the university’s official initials — a source of pride for many Taiwanese — applied to “a lot of, if not all departments” involved in exchanges with China. However, it has yet to be determined whether the practice is now official policy at the university or was initiated by department heads or individual academics.

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Antelope air defense systems on Taiping Island?

The plan is a sound one, except that its proponent fails to mention the most belligerent and powerful protagonist in the dispute

Rarely a week goes by where Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee does not propose the development, or deployment, of a new weapon system.

While a good number of the proposals he has made over the years never saw the light of day, and although Lin has a long history of voting according to the direction of the prevailing political winds, he raised some interesting points in the legislature today that warrant further consideration.

During a Q&A with Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱), Lin said the military had an obligation to assist the Coast Guard Administration (COA) in defending islets in the South China Sea that are the object of a longstanding dispute between Taiwan and other claimants.*

One of those islands is Taiping Island (太平島), which is administered by Taiwan and is also claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines and China. Taiwan completed a 1,150m airstrip on the islet in 2008 under the Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) administration.

Saying that the 20mm and 40mm machineguns used by the CGA on Taiping were insufficient, Lin asked Kao whether the military could augment defenses by deploying either the Air Force’s Antelope air defense system — a derivative of the indigenous Tien Chien I “Sky Sword” (天劍一, TC-1) air-to-air missile used on the CK-1 Indigenous Defense Fighter — or the US-made (and ageing) M48A2 “Chaparral.”

Kao said such deployments were feasible, provided a request by the CGA was made and the appropriate funds released.

Where things get really interesting, however, is not so much what Lin said to sell the idea, but rather what he didn’t say.

Vietnam, Lin said, has 27,000 marine personnel, and the Philippines have 8,300, adding that in two to three years, Vietnam’s fleet of Su-27SK and Su-30MK2 combat aircraft could expand to as much as 36. Those pose a serious threat to the country’s defense arrangements on Taiping Island, Lin said.

So here we are. Not once did Lin (or Kao) mention the other claimant to the disputed islands, the one that has been the most belligerent and whose military within the same timeframe will be more formidable by orders of magnitude than that of Vietnam of the Philippines: China.

I leave it to the reader to draw his or her own conclusions from this, and will only add that Chinese officials, as well as a good number of academics on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, have in recent months called for the joint defense of the Spratlys and other contested islands in the South China Sea.

*The Marines pulled out in 1999, ceding responsibility to the CGA.

Former US defense chief Rumsfeld lauds Taiwan

In town to attend the Republic of China 100 celebrations, the indefatigable career government official shared his views on the challenges and opportunities facing the region

Taiwan is a model for Asia and more specifically for China, a former US secretary of defense said during a keynote speech in Taipei yesterday, calling on Washington to sign a free-trade agreement (FTA) with its Asian ally.

In Taiwan to attend the Republic of China centenary celebrations, former US secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld was invited by the Prospect Foundation, a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-affiliated think tank, to share his views on future challenges in Asia.

The sprightly 79-year-old, who stepped down as former US president George W. Bush’s defense chief in 2006, said the US supported a peaceful resolution to differences across the Taiwan Strait and that progress in that direction in recent years was welcome.

“A stable and secure relationship between Taiwan and the mainland [China] is good for both parties, for the region and for the US,” said the career government official, who first visited Taiwan in 1969.

Despite those developments, Rumsfeld said, progress was likely to continue only if both parties recognized that armed conflict was an unacceptable option, which meant Taiwan should maintain its defense and expand ties with regional allies.

My coverage of Rumsfeld's luncheon address in Taipei continues here.

Kurt Campbell faces heat in Beijing

Prior to lecturing the visiting diplomat, a Chinese official seemed to indicate that Beijing did not want its expression of anger on arms sales to Taiwan to sour the overall mood for the talks

US arms sales to Taiwan were one of the main topics raised by China during a visit to Beijing yesterday by US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell.

The meeting was part of a second series of talks on Asia-Pacific affairs to boost bilateral communication and address regional and global issues, co-chaired by Campbell, who is currently visiting the region, and Chinese Vice Deputy Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai (崔天凱).

Cui said US arms sales to Taiwan jeopardized China’s core interests and Sino-US relations and constituted a disruption in the course of the “peaceful development” in the Taiwan Strait.

Such sales will be harmful to US interests in the long term, he said, adding that he hoped Washington would not become involved in any further arms sales to Taiwan, the state-owned Global Times reported last night.

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

PLA Air Force denies news of advanced fighter crash

The State Internet Information Office has ordered that the individual who published the 'fake' news and the Web site that carried it be punished according to the law

The People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) on Sunday denied rumors that one of its experimental fighter aircraft had crashed during a test flight in Shaanxi Province after Hong Kong and Taiwanese media reported the news.

The reports said that an all-weather, single engine J-10B multirole fighter aircraft had crashed at the China Flight Test Establishment in Xianyang, Xi'an, adding that the pilot was killed in the accident as he attempted to save the aircraft.

Chinese officials said no aircraft had crashed and that no pilot had been killed, calling the story pure fabrication and adding that the rumor had been traced back to the personal blog of a worker in Beijing, the People’s Daily said yesterday.

The Global Times said the allegations first emerged in a sina.com microblog post on Friday and had been picked up by the Hong Kong-based Sing Tao, which ran a story on Saturday. The report was widely circulated and was eventually picked up by Taiwanese media, the PLAAF said.

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

Beijing’s nuclear sleight of hand

Negotiators in Washington, Moscow and at the UN should be aware that once parity approaches, Beijing could prove much less willing to abandon its own nuclear ambitions

Officially, Beijing’s position on nuclear weapons is one of complete and thorough disarmament globally. This view was reaffirmed by Wang Qun (王群), China’s disarmament ambassador to the UN at the UN General Assembly on Friday.

Wang said nuclear disarmament should be based on the principle of global strategic stability and involve a “viable long-term plan” composed of “phased actions.” Meanwhile, Beijing has voiced support for efforts by Washington and Moscow to reduce their nuclear stockpiles to between 1,500 and 1,675 warheads each as part of a successor to the START treaty.

While it is difficult to disagree with calls for nuclear abolition along a moral line — current stockpiles, albeit reduced, are still enough to blow us out of existence many times over — Beijing’s enthusiasm on the matter is far less humanistic than it would like us to believe.

Key for China, as stated by Wang, is strategic stability, which at present it does not enjoy. Despite the impressive modernization of its military, China’s estimated 200 nuclear warheads are insufficient to deter rivals such as the US or Russia, whose arsenals remain in the thousands. Beijing is aware that a country that seeks to become the dominant power regionally, if not globally, cannot hope to freely flex its muscles with a nuclear component about the size of the UK’s.

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

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thoughts on the ROC’s 100th

For the good and the bad, the ROC is an intrinsic part of Taiwan’s complex history. Ignoring its impact on modern Taiwan, and vice versa, would be intellectually dishonest

Celebrations were held across Taiwan today for the Republic of China (ROC) centennial, with hundreds of foreign dignitaries attending a military parade and various colorful performances in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei.

It is perhaps testimony to the complexity of the political situation facing Taiwan that several people, including some publications abroad, would refer to the Double Ten festivities as Taiwan’s 100th anniversary. It is one thing to say that the ROC equals Taiwan — and in the public mind, or for foreign consumption, this simplification is arguably acceptable. However, to say that Oct. 10, 2011, marks Taiwan’s 100th anniversary is historically inaccurate, as Taiwan existed well before Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙) and his followers put an end to dynastic rule in China with the Xinhai Revolution in 1911.

At the time, Taiwan was part of the Japanese empire, and had been so since 1895 following the Treaty of Shimonoseki, which ended the first Sino-Japanese war. Prior to 1895, Taiwan, though on the peripheries of the Chinese empire, was not officially or legally part of it, despite revisionist claims to the contrary by Beijing.

And while it can be said that Sun’s dream came to fruition in Taiwan, no person living in Taiwan at the time of the ROC’s founding participated in the rebellion or in drafting the articles of the Republic. It should also be said that, as envisioned by Sun, the ROC was terribly flawed and less than an ideal democracy, with its founder making no secret of his opposition to the emergence of any organized political party other than the KMT.

A truly democratic ROC only emerged decades after the Republic had imposed itself upon Taiwan, and only from that point on could it be said that Taiwanese became participants in the ROC experiment. Nevertheless, without the ROC and despite the colonial — and oppressive — nature of its arrival in Taiwan, chances are that Taiwan today would be a province of the People’s Republic of China, run by an authoritarian regime that continues to make a travesty of the more noble ideas propounded by Sun.

Exogenous nature of the ROC notwithstanding, it cannot be denied that Taiwan would not be what it is today without the ROC, just as the US, Canada or Australia wouldn’t be where they are without the British colonial experience, which, for good and bad, was, and always will be, a key ingredient to the modern countries as we know them today. As such, despite the 228 Massacre and the White Terror that followed the arrival of the KMT on Taiwan, one cannot dissociate the ROC as a formative component from Taiwan, nor should that aspect of Taiwan’s history be ignored. There is nothing wrong in celebrating the ROC — a transformed, localized ROC that now stands for Taiwan —, nor does doing so signify one’s abandonment of the conviction that Taiwan is an independent country. In fact, ignoring the ROC would be to ignore a very significant, and in fact intrinsic, aspect of Taiwan’s modern history.

One therefore need not be ashamed to wish the ROC a happy 100th anniversary, nor does doing so by any means signify support for unification with China.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

India claims PLA presence in Pakistan-controlled territory

Non-military and government sources say the publication of comments by senior military officers is timed to sabotage diplomatic efforts between New Delhi and Beijing

Indian Army chief General V K Singh claimed on 5 October that People's Liberation Army (PLA) combat engineers are present among 4,000 Chinese construction workers in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

My article, published on Oct. 7 in Jane's Defence Weekly, continues here (subscription required).

Friday, October 07, 2011

More Chinese espionage, this time against Russia

Analysts tend to focus on Chinese espionage against its traditional adversaries, such as the US and Taiwan. But Beijing is increasingly stealing military secrets from its ally Russia, and now Moscow may be pushing back

Back in May I reported that China had allegedly stolen the design of the Russian-made 9K720 Iskander (SS-26 Stone)* short-range ballistic missile for its M20, adding that this followed upon repeated accusations by Russian defense firms in recent years that China was stealing Russian technology for military purposes.

It’s an open secret that in recent years relations between China and Russia, Beijing’s principal source of advanced weapons systems in recent decades, have soured, with Moscow becoming reluctant to sell Beijing its most advanced weapons. Part of this is the result of Moscow growing increasingly wary of China’s intentions as it gains strength, as well as Russian manufacturers’ inability to produce enough systems to satisfy the demand of both the Russian and Chinese militaries.

What is also troubling the relationship is growing evidence that China has been stealing military secrets from Russia and using that information to manufacture its own equivalents — only to turn those into cheaper export versions that threaten to edge Russian foreign military sales out of the market.

It now looks like China’s been at it again, this time trying to obtain classified information on the S-300PMU (SA-10 “Grumble”) long-range, high-altitude surface-to-air missile system. Although the arrest occurred on Oct. 28 last year, the Federal Security Service only made the news public this week, occurring as it does one week before Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin embarks on a state visit to China.

The suspect, identified as Tun Sheniyun (童中雲), allegedly worked as a translator for official delegations. Tun is said to have attempted to obtain technological and maintenance documents on the S-300PMU. He now faces a sentence of 10 to 20 years in jail for espionage.

Russia has sold S-300PMU, S-300PMU-1 (SA-20 “Gargoyle”) and S-300PMU-2 (SA-20B) units to China since 1993. China also manufactures a licensed copy of the S-300PMU-1 known as the HQ-10. The slightly less efficient HQ-9, of which China has an estimated 60 batteries, is a derivative of the S-300 and the US Patriot. (A variant of the HQ-9, known as the “Hai” HQ-9, or HHQ-9, is deployed on the PLA Navy’s Type-052C “Luyang II”-class destroyer.)

So why “steal” documentation when China already has the technology? Moscow claims China has been attempting to reverse-engineer the S-300 but that it may have hit a bottleneck and is trying to expedite the process by stealing extra documentation. What’s missing from the reports so far is that what Tun was likely trying to obtain was information on the S-300PMU-2, which is more advanced and has a longer range than the S-300/PMU-1 and the HQ-9/10.

* NATO appellation in parentheses

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Retired USAF officials back F-16 sale

Officials in and out of government continue to put pressure on the Obama administration to release the F-16C/Ds for Taiwan

Seven senior retired US Air Force (USAF) officials on Tuesday sent a letter to US senators John Cornyn and Robert Menendez in support of a bill to upgrade Taiwan’s airpower and in favor of selling Taiwan the 66 F-16C/D aircraft it has been requesting since 2006.

In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Taipei Times, the signatories expressed “strong support” for bill S. 1539, Taiwan Airpower Modernization Act of 2011, introduced by the senators on Sept. 12.

The letter, signed by Lieutenant General David Deptula, Lieutenant General Michael Dunn, General John Loh, General William Looney III, General Lester Lyles, General Lloyd Newton and former secretary of the Air Force Michael Wynne, was issued to coincide with the “Why Taiwan Matters” hearings at the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs the same day.

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Wu Chang-yu: A classic Chinese intelligence operation

The case of a Central Police University associate professor who was arrested for spying for China follows a pattern that is strangely familiar

Central Police University associate professor Wu Chang-yu (吳彰裕) was arrested last week for providing China’s Ministry of Public Security with information on the movement of Chinese dissidents in Taiwan.

According to investigators, Wu ordered Lin Bo-hong (林柏宏), a section supervisor, and Wu Dong-lin (吳東霖), an officer at the Hsinchu County police bureau’s international affairs office, to collect the entry and exit records of targeted individuals, which reportedly included Falun Gong practitioners and democracy activists. Lin and Wu Dong-lin are former students of Wu Chang-yu who, interestingly, also happens to be a feng shui master and was a fortuneteller to both former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九). (Ma has named Wu one of Taiwan’s three “national fortunetellers.”)

Wu’s recruitment by the Chinese intelligence apparatus followed the usual script. Wu reportedly went to China on an academic exchange in 2008. After his return to Taiwan, the MPS reportedly contacted him and asked that he provide them with customs data and information on the movement of persons of interest. If previous cases of recruitment serve as any indication, Wu, who is also a visiting professor in religion at several Chinese universities, including Sichuan University and Xiamen University, would have been approached — and recruited — while in China. Sources have told the Chinese-language United Daily News that Wu made frequent visits to China and that he had been offered fortunetelling business opportunities in China in exchange for providing information to the MPS.

As with previous cases of sources working for Chinese intelligence, Wu claims he is innocent and that the information he passed on to the Chinese was purely academic. “The data is just for the research of Chinese academic institutions without any intention on my part of leaking national secrets,” he told Taiwanese investigators, who learned of his leaks to China from his notebooks.

This follows the pattern set by individuals such as Peter Lee, Min Guo-bao, Lee Wen-ho (李文和) and several others, all academics who ran afoul of the FBI in recent decades for providing Chinese intelligence with military secrets for the sake of academic exchange. Wu, a PhD in politics, didn’t pass on military secrets, but what he gave the MPS concerns public security — especially when Chinese law regards Falun Gong practitioners, Tibetans, pro-democracy activists and Chinese dissidents as criminals and “terrorists.”

While drafting a joint cross-strait crime-fighting agreement (officially known as the Agreement on Jointly Cracking Down on Crime and Mutual Legal Assistance Across the Strait, 海峽兩岸共同打擊犯罪及司法互助協議), Taiwanese and Chinese law enforcement authorities ran into disagreements over the definition of such activities, with Taipei refusing to cooperate (such as providing lists of individuals) when Beijing requested information on “terrorist” and “separatist” suspects.

Unable to secure Taipei’s help, the MPS simply turned to willing individuals like Wu and his accomplices.

China deploys HQ-16A air defence missile

If deployed closer to Taiwan, the new medium-range, vertical launch air defense system could be used against the low-flying Hsiung Feng IIE cruise missile Taiwan is now mass-producing

The People's Liberation Army Daily confirmed in late September that a new medium-range surface-to-air missile system has become fully operational and been delivered to the Shenyang Military Region.

According to reports, the vertical-launch Hongqi-16A ('Red Flag-16'/HQ-16A/紅旗-16A) air defence missile system can engage aerial targets at altitudes up to 30,000 m as well as very-low-flying targets, including land attack cruise missiles (LACMs), within a range of approximately 40 km.

My article, published today in Jane's Defence Weekly, continues here (subscription required).

PRC delegation calls for closer media cooperation

Just as a Chinese delegate said media exchanges should be objective, impartial, comprehensive and accurate, back in Beijing the government was moving in the opposite direction

Media outlets on both sides of the Taiwan Strait should enhance exchanges and cooperation in an effort to reduce differences, the head of a Chinese media delegation said upon concluding an eight-day visit to Taiwan.

Zhou Xisheng (周錫生, pictured), the head of the delegation and vice president of Xinhua news agency, told a farewell dinner on Thursday that the eight-day “exchange tour” was an effort to encourage “frank communication” and in-depth exchanges on the media and the impact of social media on traditional mass communication.

Only by strengthening cross-strait media exchanges can differences be reduced and avoided, the friendship deepened and cooperation expanded, Zhou said, adding that he welcomed colleagues in Taiwanese media to visit China more often and engage in more direct communication and cooperation.

“Whether in the streets all over Taiwan, or a visit to the National Palace Museum … reading newspapers or watching TV, we can deeply feel that the feelings of compatriots on both sides are thicker than water, and feel the Chinese nation’s long and splendid culture,” he said.

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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.