TAIPEI—Taiwan prosecutors indicted the spokesman for a pro-China political party and two other party members for allegedly seeking to recruit Taiwan military officers on behalf of China and violating the National Security Act, a court statement said.
The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office said in a statement on June 13 that New Party spokesman Wang Ping-chung and two party members tried to recruit a network for the Chinese regime, including Taiwanese government officials, members of the military, and students.
The indictment said the three “intentionally jeopardized national security and societal stability to develop organizations that serve China’s administrative, military, and Communist Party affairs’ institutions.”
The Chinese regime considers the self-ruled democratic nation of Taiwan as a wayward province that it will eventually reunite with the mainland, the use of force notwithstanding.
Hostility towards Taiwan has risen since the more independence-leaning Tsai Ing-wen was elected president in 2016.
China suspects she wants to push for formal independence, which would cross a red line for Communist Party leaders in Beijing, though Tsai has said she wants to maintain the status quo and is committed to peace.
Beijing had earlier condemned authorities on the island for the investigation.
The statement redacted the middle characters of the defendants’ names, but the other two party members were identified by media as Lin Ming-cheng and Hou Han-ting.
In the indictment, New Party spokesman Wang and others are also suspected of using an underground foreign currency exchange company to illegally convert foreign currencies to the local Taiwan dollar, with the use of funds aimed at forming groups to serve the Chinese regime, the statement said.
The representative of the underground foreign exchange company, as well as four others who engaged in related activities, were also charged on suspicion of violating a banking law clause that relates to “illegally running a bank’s remittance service,” it added.
This week’s indictment involving New Party members has links to an earlier investigation into Chinese student Zhou Hongxu, who was jailed for 14 months in September 2017 for attempting to recruit a Taiwan official and extract confidential information.
Electronic records indicated that Zhou had contacted spokesman Wang and others in the course of his activities.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Earlier this year, Taiwanese media revealed that the Chinese regime’s United Front has launched influence campaigns targeting specific groups of Taiwanese to advocate its interests, including pro-China political parties, youth, and military veterans. Meanwhile, Taiwan’s intelligence and military community have faced a growing number of hacking attempts originating from China.
Meanwhile, Beijing has clamped down harshly on Taiwanese activists advocating for China’s democracy. In September 2017, Li Ming-che, a community college lecturer and activist at a human rights organization in Taiwan, was sentenced by a Chinese court to five years in prison for “subverting state power.” Li had transmitted social media messages about democracy to activists in China. He is currently imprisoned at the Chishan Prison in Hunan Province.
On June 4, Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DDP) issued a formal statement calling on Beijing to release Li.
By Jess Macy Yu, Ben Blanchard, and Christian Shepherd. Epoch Times staff member Frank Fang contributed to this report.