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Taiwan passes a law aimed at fighting Chinese influence

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The Taiwan parliament passed a law to fight against the impact on internal affairs on Tuesday, aiming to counter perceived threats from China as the democratic island embraces a presidential election on January 11 amid growing tension with Beijing.

The legislation is part of a years-long effort to combat what many in Taiwan see as Chinese efforts to influence politics and the democratic process through secret financing of politicians, the media, and other unspoken means.

The move is likely to further strain relations between Taipei and Beijing, which Taiwan President Cai Ing-Win suspects has been pushing for the island’s independence officially and stepping up pressure on it since she took power in 2016.

“The rise of China poses a threat to all countries and Taiwan faces the greatest threat,” said Qin Obo of the Democratic Progressive Party, which has a majority in parliament.

“Taiwan is on the front line of the expansion of Chinese influence, and it desperately needs a law to combat external influences to protect the rights of its people,” he added.

Legislators of the Progressive Democratic Party, to which Tsai belongs, supported the bill 67 to zero despite opposition criticizing it as a “political tool” for winning votes ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections.

The deputies of the opposition Kuomintang party, which supports closer ties with China, did not vote.

The mainland’s Taiwan Affairs Office said in a statement circulated by state media that the Progressive Democratic Party is seeking electoral gains from the move and creating hostility between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

“We strongly warn the Democratic Progressive Party,” he said in the statement, “Blood will not become water between citizens on both sides of the strait who protect and support each other.” This is something that no force can change.”

The law provides legal avenues for efforts to stop Chinese financing activities on the island, such as pressure groups and election campaigns. He holds a maximum sentence of seven years’ imprisonment and will take effect from Tsai’s signature in January, in order to become law.

China says Taiwan is a province of its own and it will come under its control by force, if necessary. As for Taiwan, it confirms that it is an independent country called the Republic of China, which is its official name.

The Kuomintang party said it supported efforts to protect Taiwan from outside interference, but accused the Progressive Democratic Party of speeding up the law for electoral gain, calling it a threat to democracy in Taiwan.

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