Taipei, Dec. 2 (CNA) A former defense minister of Taiwan on Monday called on lawmakers to swiftly pass an anti-infiltration law to prevent Chinese interference in the nation's politics.
Michael Tsai (蔡明憲), who served as defense chief from February to May 2008 during the previous Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration, made the call to support the government's ongoing push for the legislation, ahead of presidential and legislative elections on Jan. 11.
Tsai said he had first hand experience of Beijing's "United Front" policy, which promotes cross-strait unification, several months after leaving the defense chief post.
A Taiwanese friend who was doing business in China reached out to him in early 2009 saying that China's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) was hoping to invite him to take part in an international meeting in China, according to Tsai.
If he agreed to attend the meeting, he would be greeted by senior Chinese officials, Tsai quoted his friend as saying.
The former defense minister said he immediately rejected the invitation to avoid contributing to Beijing's reunification campaign.
The incident was just the tip of the iceberg in the Chinese reunification campaign against Taiwan, he noted.
The recent case of Wang Liqiang, a self-proclaimed Chinese spy who sought asylum in Australia after telling local media he had worked to spread communist party influence in Hong Kong and meddle in Taiwan's elections made the passage of the bill even more urgent, Tsai added.
Tsai is now head of the pro-independence Taiwan United Nations Alliance, which holds an annual rally in front of U.N. headquarters in New York to call for Taiwan's inclusion in the international organization.
The ruling DPP last Monday unveiled the draft for the Anti-Infiltration Act, which is designed to complement existing laws on preventing foreign hostile forces from intervening in Taiwan's democratic political system and elections.
The act prohibits political donations; lobbying; and attempts to interfere with local elections at the instruction or with the financial support of anyone affiliated with a hostile force.
The draft bill defines a hostile force as a country or group at war or in a military standoff with Taiwan that seeks to jeopardize Taiwan's sovereignty by non-peaceful means, referring to China.
Violators face a maximum five-year jail sentence or NT$5 million (US$ 162,522) fine.
The bill passed its second reading last Friday and is now undergoing a month-long cross-party negotiation period before it is put to a third reading and becomes law, which the DPP estimates could happen on Dec. 31.