President Tsai Ing-wen Warns of Chinese Agents in Taiwan, a Situation Much Like Ukraine
Chinese Communist Party Spies Now Lurking in Regime, Growing Awareness of Crisis Due to Russian Aggression
Article on March 4th,2022 by Romi Tan
About Romi Tan (Born in Tokyo and graduated from Keio University. Currently resides in the United States. Former visiting professor at Keio University. Author of “That’s a Good Question! Nikkei, America, China, Laughing Economy Frontline” (Nihon Keizai Shimbun Inc.), “Teito Tokyo o Chugoku Kakumei de Odoru” (Walking in the Imperial Capital Tokyo with the Chinese Revolution) (Hakusuisha), “Kakumei wa nakarazu – Nichi-China Hyakunen no Gunzo” (The Night Before the War: The Japan Loved by Lu Xun and Chiang Kai-shek) (both from Shinchosha) and many others.)
In the early morning of February 24, Russia invaded Ukraine.
Earlier on February 23, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen stated, “We condemn Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty. We continue to call on all countries concerned to resolve the conflict through peaceful and reasonable means.” Referring to the current situation in Taiwan, she stated, “In the face of attempts by external forces to demoralize Taiwanese society, all government departments must increase their vigilance against cognitive warfare,” and urged the Taiwanese people to “take action against the military in and around the Taiwan Strait. He revealed that he had ordered increased monitoring of developments (AFP, Feb. 23).
It is not only Taiwan that sees Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as directly overlapping with China’s invasion of Taiwan. The same may be true for Japan, the United States, and other Asian countries.
However, Taiwan is particularly alarmed by the fact that the attack is coming from “outside” as well as from “inside. It is said that Russian agents have been conducting disturbances in Ukraine for some time, and the same is true of Taiwan. The situation that President Tsai has pointed to as “an attempt by outside forces to demoralize Taiwanese society,” in other words, the special operations by Chinese Communist Party spies infiltrating Taiwan, has become extremely serious.
Active and former military officers are being arrested and convicted on espionage charges.
According to Reuters (December 20, 2021), Chinese Communist Party spies have penetrated deeply into Taiwan’s military, and not surprisingly, a Chinese Communist Party spy has been uncovered from the Secret Service, which is charged with protecting President Tsai Ing-wen’s personal security.
Reuters published a series of investigative reports titled “T-Day: The Battle for Taiwan” (November 5, 2021), followed by the 91-page “Taiwan Contingency: Six Scenarios” (November 5, 2021), and “The (Chinese) Island of Plotting” (December 20, 2021), which We reported on how deeply Chinese Communist Party spies have penetrated every level of the Taiwanese military and government.
According to the report, at least 21 active duty and retired military personnel of the rank of captain or above have been arrested and convicted of espionage charges over the past decade. And even now, at least nine policemen have been arrested and are on trial for allegedly providing information to Chinese Communist Party spies.
China is now said to be focusing on infiltrating Communist Party spies into Taiwan to gather information on Taiwan’s defense plans and state-of-the-art weaponry, and to discourage politicians, senior military officials, and the public from fighting.
A spokesman for Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said, “Although the Taiwanese military has prevented the leakage of classified information and has long been vigilant in educating military personnel and civil servants, Chinese Communist Party spies are lurking everywhere,” adding, “Many spy cases are often reported from within the military and are within safe control even at the investigation stage. and no substantial damage was done because the leakage of information could have been prevented before it occurred.”
Unfortunately, however, there have been cases where classified leaks could not be prevented.
Even the Führer’s personal guard.
The Hsieh Xi-chang case, uncovered in July 2021, was a massive, massive leak of information, dubbed “the biggest espionage case in history. Hsieh Xi-chang, a Chinese army captain who was a Hong Kong businessman, visited Taiwan for 22 years and established an intelligence network by giving money and gifts to those he identified as his targets, obtaining military secrets about Taiwan’s Mirage fighter jets and radar stations, among other things. The arrests of Taiwanese military officers in the Hsieh Tin-chang case, which included former Air Force Major General Qian Yao-tsung, former Lieutenant Colonel Wei Seng-yi, and many other former high-ranking military officers, as well as former Deputy Minister of National Defense Chang Te-ping, sent shock waves through Taiwan society.
The case of Wang Wenhiko, the Secret Service officer in charge of President Tsai Ing-wen’s personal security, involves the leak of top-secret information on Tsai’s schedule of activities and various documents of her security personnel. Wang Wenhiko’s uncle was a military police officer during the reign of President Lee Teng-hui, but after leaving the military, he was recruited by the Chinese Communist Party to become an informant. Since Wang Wenhiko was ideologically opposed to Tsai Ing-wen, it appears that he was connected to CCP spies through his uncle. When this was discovered, both were arrested and are currently in prison.
The birth of President Tsai Ing-wen, who advocates “two Chinas,” has triggered an increase in Chinese espionage activities.
According to a slightly older report by the BBC (March 15, 2017), on March 13 of that year, DPP Legislator Luo Chi-zheng said at a press conference, “In Taiwan, 55 espionage cases have been uncovered in recent years. Communist Party spies have already infiltrated various sectors of the military, government, and business, and under the premise of human rights protection, national defense and confidentiality protection must be strengthened,” he said.
This comes at a time when a Chinese national, an international student at Taiwan’s National Chengchi University, was taken into custody by Taiwanese authorities on March 10 on charges of espionage.
In 2017, Chinese Communist Party spying was already rampant, and Wang Dingyu, chairman of the National Defense Affairs Committee of Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan and a member of the DPP Legislative Council, also stated that “Chinese spies have infiltrated Taiwan by disguising their identities as academic researchers, businessmen, and others. Beijing is trying to plunge Taiwanese society into chaos from within” (March 18, 2009).
Some Chinese Communist Party spies come to Taiwan by marriage or disguise themselves as researchers or businessmen to infiltrate various occupations in Taiwanese society and recruit Taiwanese military and civil servants as intelligence collaborators. Some estimates even put the number of Communist Party spies at as many as 5,000 at present.
However, this is not the first time that Chinese Communist Party spies have been rampant in Taiwan.
The relationship between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Kuomintang (KMT) is old: the two parties have been political rivals and waged civil war since the 1920s, and when the Communists won victory in 1949 and established the People’s Republic of China, the KMT took refuge in Taiwan under the banner of the Nationalist Government. Since then, “cross-strait relations,” or tensions between China and Taiwan across the Taiwan Strait, have continued, and the two countries have engaged in espionage activities.
In the 1990s, the KMT government led by then President Ma Ying-jeou adopted a pro-China policy, “cross-strait relations” improved, and exchanges flourished. Taiwanese people returned home to China, marriages between Taiwanese and Chinese, study abroad, and business management became more active, and in 2008, one million Chinese tourists came to Taiwan. This wave of human exchange seems to have made it easier to conduct espionage activities.
In 2017, when the KMT government fell and the DPP government led by President Tsai Ing-wen, who upheld freedom and democracy, was formed, expectations for independence in Taiwan rose. This in turn prompted China, wary of this trend, to become even more eager to obtain information on Taiwan and to put more effort into organizing its intelligence network.
Now, the “beautiful spy” is Lin Wei, a native of Zhejiang Province, who married a Taiwanese entrepreneur in 1991, took up residence in Taiwan, and became a Taiwanese citizen in 1997. She met and became friends with Huang Zheng-an, who had retired from the Air Force in 2001 and was working on rocket research at a research institute. Through Lin Wei, Huang Zheng-an sold Taiwan’s military secrets to the Chinese military for $7 million. The whole story came to light when Huang Zheng-an’s ex-wife confessed under questioning by the authorities. Perhaps it was a honey trap. Huang Zheng’an was arrested and sentenced to eight years in prison for leaking military secrets, while Lin Wei was convicted of seven months in prison, which was later reduced to three and a half months.
Laws for cracking down on spying have also made progress.
Nevertheless, the sentence is probably too short for such a serious information leakage case.
In fact, until now, Taiwan has not had a military tribunal for national security. Therefore, even if an espionage case is discovered and an arrest is made, it is treated like an ordinary criminal case or civil trial, and as a result, the sentence is light even if the person is convicted.
Some researchers have even lamented, “This is not an effective deterrent to national security.”
Last year, Taiwan’s DPP Legislative Councilor Luo Chi-Cheng and his colleagues proposed revising laws related to the “National Security Act” and establishing a military tribunal for national security. The law will be enacted soon.
Security is a matter of national importance. With the growing threat of Chinese military aggression, the leakage of secrets would be fatal, and would seriously impede the sharing of information with allies and the development of weapons.
We should not only be wary of attacks from “outside,” but we should also strengthen measures to prevent disturbance from “inside” as soon as possible.