In the 1990s, China introduced a special version of its National College Entrance Examination for students from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, allowing them a lower acceptance threshold than local students. It used sales pitches, such as that China is a land of opportunity and has a similar culture, to persuade Taiwanese students to take the exam and attend universities and colleges in China.
On Sunday last week, the Liberty Times (the sister newspaper of the Taipei Times) reported that Taiwan has not permitted businesses to act as agents or consultants for overseas study in China.
However, the China Tide Association openly acknowledges on the “mainland study database” page of its Web site that it has since 1999 been authorized by the Hong Kong-based Beijing Hong Kong Academic Exchange Center to act as a registration point for students from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau for entrance exams for undergraduate and postgraduate courses at Chinese higher education institutions.
It says that it provides free consultation and exam registration services, being the only agency in Taiwan officially authorized to do so by the Hong Kong examination center.
The association has for 20 years been skirting the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例), yet there has been little sign of the Mainland Affairs Council, the Ministry of Education or any other ministry investigating the association’s activities.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has over the past few years been boosting its “united front” campaign. This campaign seeks to influence Taiwanese in favor of unification and targets Taiwan at the local, family and personal levels.
In March, Taipei hosted part of the 16th Cross-strait Angels of Peace Exchange program, organized by China’s All-China Federation of Taiwan Compatriots and the national working committee of the Young Pioneers of China, the children’s wing of the Communist Youth League of China.
Taipei Municipal Minzu Elementary School and other elementary schools in Taipei volunteered to take part in the program as “counterpart schools” in Taiwan, and Minzu Elementary School principal Huang Yao-nung (黃耀農) went so far as to say that “we can do ‘united front’ work on them as well.”
It makes you wonder which nation Huang thinks his school is in.
The efforts of the National Security Bureau and the Investigation Bureau to counter communist spies have been hampered by factors such as limited personnel. Cabinet agencies such as the Mainland Affairs Council, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Economic Affairs take case-by-case counterespionage measures.
Meanwhile, certain media groups have been willingly acting as a hostile country’s propaganda machine, but the National Communications Commission has done too little, too late to impose penalties and amend legislation.
Will Taiwan ever establish a comprehensive strategy and integrated coordination mechanism to launch a broad counterattack against the cold war the CCP has been waging against the nation?
On Tuesday last week, the Legislative Yuan enacted amendments to Part 2, Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code, which deals with treason, and the Classified National Security Information Protection Act (國家機密保護法). This is positive, albeit a little late.
Hopefully, the government can until next year’s elections formulate a clear and comprehensive strategy to counter China’s “united front” campaign, so as to more effectively resist China’s efforts to infiltrate and invade Taiwan.