For two weeks in Hong Kong, millions of people have been protesting pro-Beijing policies.
Now in Taiwan, 100-thousand people were in the streets to protest interference from mainland China.
On June 23, about 100,000 Taiwanese people gathered outside the Presidential Office Building in the capital city, Taipei. They had one message: Protect Taiwan’s democracy from interference by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Analysts say that for a long time, the CCP has infiltrated Taiwan’s media, politics, business, and academia.
Michael Cole, Senior Research Fellow, Chinese Policy Institute, University of Nottingham said, “One of the key areas they’re trying to undermine are public trust in democratic institutions in Taiwan, trying to undermine the will to resist by basically creating the impression that, you know, ‘Unification is ultimately inevitable, so resistance is futile.'”
A message that U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Randy Schriver says the People’s Republic of China (PRC) will try to action come January, when Taiwan holds its next presidential election—as the PRC has done in every previous election.
“The challenges, the sophistication on the P.R.C. side is growing, and so, what we expect this time is use of social media, cyber intrusions, etcetera,” Schriver said. He said the United States and Taiwan have already begun a dialogue to strengthen Taiwan’s capacity to deal with this challenge—including a leadership-retraining program hosted by the FBI.
Michael Cole, Senior Research Fellow, Chinese Policy Institute, University of Nottingham said, “That’s the work that intelligence agencies, law enforcement and civil society need to conduct, so that we can actually come up with evidence and say, ‘Okay, this candidate is being supported by an external agent, and here is why we believe that would be detrimental to Taiwan’s future.”
Taiwan’s ruling party also announced it will push legislation through that requires Taiwanese companies to disclose their foreign connections; that includes money, personnel and business relationships in mainland China. The law, called the “Foreign Agents Registration Act,” resembles U.S. legislation by the same name—an example of the United States’s influence in upholding democracy worldwide.