Long before Taiwanese could run the political campaign, protest, and make speeches; people had tended to avoid making any political comments or showing their discontent over politics. Transnational repression happened in 1980s at Taiwanese community, while Taiwan was ruled by the autocratic KMT party by then, with spy networks all around the globe for surveillance of overseas Taiwanese. Life was hard because we were afraid that one day our family might suffer. To young generation in Taiwan now, the story of fighting for democracy or being a hero in politics may be too far away from them. People just enjoy their freedom without concerning too much of previous history, or they may forget enemies are still among us.
Cross border repression in U.S
According to the report of Freedom House in 2022, authoritarian countries from the Middle East, Africa and China are one of foreign governments conducting long arm repression in America now. Even those exiled activists are holding American passport, it does not mean that they can get away from the harassment of their original country. China may be the most notorious country that reaches their arm globally, except Uyghurs, many ethnic Han Chinese are the target of the region, according to the report. This brings the unprecedented challenge between the relations of U.S and China.
“Beijing’s efforts in the United States are also not limited to Uyghurs; authorities also pursue Hong Kongers, Tibetans, Falun Gong practitioners, people accused of financial crimes, and critics of the authorities more broadly.” Available at https://freedomhouse.org/report/transnational-repression/united-states
The Apple Daily in Taiwan
After the National Security Law was launched in Hong Kong, the once Oriental Pearl was challenged and crashed down with the government force from the Mainland China. The Apple Daily, one of the most trustworthy newspapers in Hong Kong was closed; staffs were laid off, the CEO was arrested and its property was seized. Few weeks ago, the Apple Daily in Taiwan also announced their bankruptcy due to the reason that the bank account of the parent company was frozen, so they can only run the business until this Sep. It was said the new consolidation was done by the Chinese company, so the Taiwanese government is watching them now, and relevant authorities are worried that there are Chinese funds behind it. If so, they might plan to invest in the media and enforce the National Security Law from Hong Kong, which is our main concern.
What the Taiwanese government should do
I think the government should set up an unique sector focusing on the transnational repression cases. Though few dissidents would choose to be here for asylum, not to mention that locals may be targeted by certain Chinese groups, the Taiwanese government should be aware of the dissidents here especially Hong Kongers, since the government has announced the humanitarian aid for them. The CCP will turn dissidents against each other, or even toward locals.
According to the Freedom House report, “An ethnically Tibetan New York City police officer was charged with acting as an illegal agent of the Chinese government and trying to collect information on New York’s Tibetan diaspora.” Available at: https://freedomhouse.org/report/transnational-repression/united-states
The government should know, being targeted by the autocrat is a lifelong job, and may be generational trauma among those who suffer. Maybe the government could make a new law, regulating that any political party reaches long arm or colludes with other countries for transnational repression, will be dissolved.
Wish all democratic countries will be together. Let us protect our freedom and human rights around the globe.