TAIPEI – Mainland China is intervening in the Taiwan democratic process ahead of county magistrate and city mayor elections to be held at the end of the year. In contrast to the overt tactics it has used in the past, China is clandestinely pressuring Taiwan businessmen not to support pan-green alliance candidates, whose parties support Taiwanese independence.
According to official sources, Chinese authorities including the Taiwan Affairs Office and the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation have invited leading Taiwanese entrepreneurs living in China for separate meetings. The Taiwan businessmen were advised to “act with restraint” when making political donations to pan-green alliance candidates.
Businessmen who have been interviewed admitted that Chinese officials have prohibited them from overtly supporting the pan-green parties. China clearly indicated its interest in the meetings as the outcome of the upcoming county and city elections is crucial to the presidential election in 2008.
It is clear who China supports in the upcoming local and national elections: the pan-blue parties. China has made its support known through high profile favors and good will gestures to pan-blue political leaders. Officials from Taiwan’s National Security Bureau worry that this is part of a plan to create discord in Taiwan’s politics. Taiwan’s Taichung City Mayor Jason Hu (Hu Chih-Chiang) has visited China to personally consult with Chinese authorities about a pair of pandas China would offer Taiwan. Chinese officials have also resumed negotiations about charter flights out of Taichung to Macau and Hong Kong. China has also invited to China former Chairman of the Chinese National Party (the Kuomintang), Lien Chan and Chairman of the People’s First Party, James Soong.
In August and September, leading Taiwanese entrepreneurs who invest in China were invited to Beijing and Shanghai to talk with high-ranking officials associated with China’s Taiwan Affairs Office and Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation. At the meetings, Chinese officials requested them not to side with pan-green candidates. Officials from Taiwan’s National Security Bureau are watchful to see whether the Chinese Communist regime will make any further moves.
Officials in Taiwan believe that China’s recent interventions in local politics are part of a long-term intervention plan in Taiwan’s political landscape. The Communist Party has recently enacted the Anti-Secession Law, which stipulates that China’s State Council and Central Military Committee shall decide on and execute non-peaceful measures to “protect China’s sovereignty” over Taiwan. China also lifted the ban on agricultural imports from Taiwan to allure Taiwan’s farming sector, which has been a long-time faithful supporting force for the pan-green alliance in Taiwan. The evidence of both incidents indicates China’s growing manipulation over Taiwan.