語言: English Photo Credit: Wang Ping-Chung/Facebook
WITH WANG PING-CHUNG, his father Wang Ching-Pu, and fellow New Party officials Ho Han-ting and Lin Ming-cheng indicted on charges of espionage for spying on China earlier this month, this has prompted few reactions from Taiwanese society. This is a far cry from initial reactions to Wang’s detention and questioning in December of last year, which catapulted Wang to fame. At that time, even pro-independence Taiwanese youth activists starkly opposed to Wang’s pro-unification political views reacted against what they initially viewed as police overstepping their authority.
Namely, police initially attempted to bring Wang in for questioning without a warrant, leading Wang to livestream his refusal to allow police into his residence until they returned with a warrant. Wang and other New Party members brought in for questioning by police subsequently leveraged on the incident to claim political persecution by the pan-Green camp. Wang and other members of the New Party questioned by police were all members of the New Party’s youth wing and outspoken young people that advocate unification with China.
Photo credit: Wang Ping-chung/Facebook
What proves noteworthy about the incident is that activists have been loggerheads with Wang and cohort for years. Wang, for example, made an appearance alongside former gangster and killer of political dissidents “White Wolf” Chang An-Lo during when Chang threatened to violently evict the Sunflower Movement occupiers of the Legislative Yuan. But pro-Taiwan youth activists would also react against unaccountable actions by police anyway. This may prove a healthy impulse in a democratic society, particularly one which is only recently post-authoritarian.
However, again, because of Taiwan only recently being a post-authoritarian country, it remains a sensitive matter in Taiwan for a ruling political party to arrest members of opponent parties, and this is why the Tsai administration has had to handle the matter with a delicate tack.
Very probably, the Tsai administration’s handling of the matter was to drive home the point of Taiwan being a free and democratic country in which one is innocent until proven guilty, unlike China. The Tsai administration likely also realized that to avoid charges of political persecution, it could simply give Wang and company enough rope to hang themselves. This does seem to have been successful.
Wang (center), while in Xiamen, China in April. Photo credit: Wang Ping-chung/Facebook
Either way, it is unknown as to whether the spy network built by Wang and company was successful in any way. Wang and company did not evidence much in the way of espionage training, seeing as much of their actions extremely amateurish—the Fire News website was, for example, simply registered to the New Party’s headquarters. However, this also raises the questions of what actions the Tsai administration should take against spying efforts which, in fact, do not prove all that harmful—as well as raises questions regarding whether such efforts are simply smokescreen for more serious threats.