Taiwan probes free China journeys used to ‘affect’ election

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Supporters of Taiwan President and Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate William Lai cheer as Lai launches his election marketing campaign in Taipei, Taiwan, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023. Taiwan will maintain its presidential election on Jan. 13, 2024.
| Photo Credit: AP

Taiwanese prosecutors stated Wednesday they have been investigating 5 folks over accusations they’d organized free journeys to China for dozens of voters in a bid to “influence” subsequent month’s elections.

Taiwan goes to polls on January 13 to elect a brand new President and a brand new Parliament in a contest that has been dominated by relations with China.

Relations have plunged lately as China has stepped up strain on self-ruled Taiwan, which it regards as a part of its territory to be seized someday, by power if essential.

The 5 folks underneath investigation have been amongst 35 folks questioned by prosecutors on Tuesday on suspicion of violating election and anti-infiltration legal guidelines.

Prosecutors from Kaohsiung in Taiwan’s south stated in a press release a person, recognized solely by his household identify of Chou, and 4 others had been “in contact and received instructions” from Chinese officers in command of Taiwan affairs to “invite influential local people” to China.

They alleged the 5 had organized journeys to Hunan province final month for 60 folks from Kaohsiung and Taitung, one other southern metropolis, and provided “unfair benefits” that included free meals, lodging and transportation.

In return, Chou “asked for their support of candidates from specific political parties and with specific political leanings in an attempt to influence voters’ voting intentions and the election results”, the prosecutors from Kaohsiung’s Ciaotou district stated.

The candidates and events weren’t recognized.

The Ciaotou prosecutors additionally questioned final month one other 22 folks, together with two who have been alleged to have organized no less than 5 journeys to China for an unspecified variety of voters subsidised by Chinese authorities.

Taiwanese authorities officers have warned that China may attempt to affect the island’s elections.

Beijing has blasted the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) candidate Lai Ching-te and his operating mate Hsiao Bi-khim as an “independence duo” for his or her refusal to acknowledge its declare on Taiwan.

The most important opposition Kuomintang celebration’s candidate Hou Yu-ih and third-party candidate Ko Wen-je, who’ve each pledged hotter ties with China, are trailing the DPP in opinion polls.



Content Source: www.thehindu.com

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