《TAIPEI TIMES》 Borough trips to China suspicious: lawmaker
MEET AND GREET: A six-day tour to Jiangsu Province included meeting with an NPC Standing Committee member at a pearl factory, a Taipei City councilor said
By Lee I-chia / Staff reporter
A borough warden inviting people to join a group tour to China last month, which included a meeting with a Chinese National People’s Congress （NPC） Standing Committee member, could have been part of Beijing’s “united front” tactics to influence local officials in Taiwan, a Taipei City councilor said yesterday.
Democratic Progressive Party Taipei City Councilor Chen E-jun （陳怡君） wrote on Facebook that a city resident had alerted her to the trip, which she urged national security officials to be aware of.
Chen also posted a photograph of an itinerary for the six-day group tour to Jiangsu Province from Oct. 15 to Oct. 29.
The itinerary showed a trip to Wuxi and Shanghai for NT$15,000 per person, which included the airfare, accommodation, meals, sightseeing and transportation.
Chen said the travelers were not recruited through open registration, but secretly invited directly by the borough warden, and that one of the tour stops was a pearl factory, where the group was accompanied by an NPC Standing Committee member for Wuxi.
“Facing the 2024 presidential election, the Chinese Communist Party is using every conceivable means, from cognitive warfare to its ‘grand external propaganda,’ and is now even using organizational warfare to infiltrate [Taiwan at the] grassroots level, to ‘reach into the island, the households and the minds’ [of Taiwanese] to influence Taiwan’s election,” she wrote.
She said the resident who alerted her to the trip had attended a similar group tour, invited by the same borough warden, to Shanghai earlier this year.
The resident told her they became suspicious about it.
“With the elections just around the corner, national security agencies and related departments must keep their guard up, as there will be a continuous swarm of disinformation, cognitive warfare and online infiltrations coming,” Chen wrote.
The Chinese Communist Party is using military aircraft to intimidate Taiwanese, while at the same time smiling and spending money on inviting them to visit China, she said, adding that everyone should be aware of Chinese interference in Taiwan’s elections.
She also urged national security agencies to investigate the case to see how borough wardens formed connections with NPC Standing Committee members.
The Taipei Department of Civil Affairs said the group tours are considered part of a borough warden’s private itinerary.
Nevertheless, people can file reports if they suspect the tour prices are unreasonable, it said, adding that it has asked district offices to remind borough wardens about the rules they should follow when visiting China.
Additional reporting by CNA