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《TAIPEI TIMES》Letters allegedly seeking celebrities for China party

Silhouettes of people appear in front of a five-starred red image in an undated photograph.
Photo: AP

Silhouettes of people appear in front of a five-starred red image in an undated photograph. Photo: AP

2024/06/17 03:00

‘NO THANKS’: Musician Hsieh Ho-hsien said he rejected an offer to join the party and its promise to make NT$10 million, saying that he would rather earn it honestly

By Chen Yu-fu and Jason Pan / Staff reporters

Beijing aims to establish a political party in Taiwan using Taiwanese entertainers and social media influencers to attract members, people who have allegedly received a prospectus letter from China said yesterday.

Singer Alexis Ho (何以奇) and musician Hsieh Ho-hsien (謝和弦), also known as “R-chord” were among those who told reporters they received letters sent from a media company based in Beijing.

They said the letters outlined a plan to form a party with funding of about NT$450 million (US$13.91 million).

The “Taiwan Support Peace Party” (台灣擁和黨), would not be affiliated with the pan-blue or pan-green camps, so it could work with either, Ho quoted the letter as saying, adding that its central tenet would be promoting peace.

She said she knows of other entertainers who have received the letters, which allegedly claim they could earn more than NT$10 million a year working with more than 10 media companies in China ready to offer advertising and endorsement deals, music concerts, TV shows and public appearances.

The prospectus allegedly promised that affiliation with the party would not bring participants any trouble and they were not required to invest any money, she said.

However, they must agree to a statement, titled “Establishing New Forms of Cross-strait Relations,” and endorse it by posting on their social media accounts, Ho said.

The NT$450 million has been registered in a fund in a tax haven bank in the Caribbean, which can be channeled into Taiwan, the letter allegedly says, as overseas donations and financial support for political groups are restricted in Taiwan.

Entertainers and prominent figures would take up party leadership positions, while media companies in Beijing and Henan Province would handle funding and other efforts, the letter allegedly says, adding that the party would field candidates in the 2026 nine-in-one local elections.

Hsieh said he had received the letter three times, inviting him to join as a “founding member,” while promising financial rewards through work in China.

He said it mentioned convening a party congress in Taipei next month.

The letter claimed to already have a comprehensive list of Taiwanese actors, TV hosts, models, news anchors, content creators and social media influencers, and has recruited a famous singer as the party chairperson, as well as another prominent celebrity as a deputy chairperson, both of whom were reportedly previously close to the Democratic Progressive Party, Hsieh said.

It is clear that China’s new “united front” campaign aims to use local celebrities and online personalities to influence younger Taiwanese, he said.

“For me, I refused them... I grew up in Nantou County’s Puli Township (埔里), and I am a proud Taiwanese. As for China’s promise of money, no thanks. I can earn NT$10 million through my own honest work,” Hsieh wrote online.

The Mainland Affairs Council said that it is aware of the letters, and would strive to verify the information, adding that Taiwanese entertainers could run afoul of the law and possibly contravene the Anti-Infiltration Act (反滲透法) if funding for the party originated from the Chinese government or the Chinese Communist Party.

新聞來源:TAIPEI TIMES

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