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.