Saturday, February 12, 2011

General Arrested for Spying

"Roy Bland: As a good socialist, I'm going where the money is. As a good capitalist, I'm sticking with the revolution because, if you can't beat it, spy on it!"

Huge news this week as the government of Taiwan arrested one of its generals for spying for China. Thursday the Taipei Times reported:

A general has been arrested over claims he spied for China, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced yesterday, as it scrambled to limit the damage from what it called the worst espionage case in 50 years.

Wang Ming-wo (王明我), acting director of the General Political Warfare Bureau, told a press conference yesterday that Major General Lo Hsien-che (羅賢哲), head of communications and electronic information at the Army Command Headquarters, was detained on Jan. 25.

Agents from national security bureaus and military prosecutors searched Lo’s office and room in the Army Command Headquarters and his residence and seized confidential documents, Wang said.

Wang said Lo was allegedly recruited by Chinese agents in 2004 in the middle of a 2002 to 2005 posting in Thailand, and could not have done much damage after returning to Taiwan.

Thailand is to Asia what Vienna was to Europe during the Cold War: the place where spy games are played.

Other articles noted:

Fisher said Lo’s arrest was only the latest espionage exposure in a mostly silent “war” extending back for almost four generations.

“General Lo’s case is deadly serious because he was in charge of what was to be Taiwan’s most important force multiplier in the event of war — the ‘Po Sheng’ or ‘Broad Victory’ digital multi-service command, control and intelligence system,” Fisher said.

“Po Sheng was intended to allow Taiwan’s armed forces to transition into the modern age of true joint warfare where different services can cooperate intimately for faster mission success,” he said.

WantChinaTimes, the rabidly pro-Beijing Taiwan newspaper, gleefully reported that military and intelligence ties with the US could be cut, basing their reporting on comments from the Taiwan representative office in Washington. But later reports stated that the case would not affect relations -- the F-16 sale has already been in suspended animation since the late Bush Administration, while current trade talks are stalled over -- yes, you're reading this correctly -- beef.

According to Chinese-language media reports, the US first knew about this case in July of last year, which implies that the US has had a while to prepare a response and minimize damage. The media reported that the general was lured into working for Beijing through the classic methods of sex and cash -- although he is a mainlander from a military family whose father came over with Chiang Kai-shek, there is no reason to place the blame for this one on ethnicity; no one really knows what goes on in the hearts of men who betray their own. WantChinaTimes passed on a tale that the general turned spy due to fear of thwarted promotion -- from a general who was involved in the assassination of writer Henry Liu in 1984! Remember, in spy cases dissinformation abounds.

The case quickly became a political football for intraparty politics as the DPP and KMT each accused the other's president of being at fault, as if Ma Ying-jeou and Chen Shui-bian hovered over the nation's generals, ensuring that they did not go over to China The Other Side. This was a case of the DPP falling into the KMT trap of engaging in petty political bullshit when it should be asking serious questions of the nation's leadership about the direction of defense and intelligence.

I don't think the case is indicative of anything -- high ranking officials will continue to change positions in both directions thanks to the lubricating effects of sex and cash -- but rather, highlights the apparent ongoing decline in the nation's defense and intelligence since Ma became President, as Far Eastern Potato notes (see below). Jens Kastner has written a number of articles broadly related to this theme, such as Taiwan's surveillance role in doubt. For more, see his blog, Taiwan Reports. Hopefully DPP Chairman Tsai will get out front and center on the direction of the nation's defense policies.

Meanwhile, in the absence of the DPP, the KMT papers are fulfilling the role of Loyal Opposition. A UDN piece commenting on the many recent issues, including the tiff over the 14 alleged fraudsters sent by Manila to China, observed as it ended:


Since the Republic of China is a sovereign state, it should take practical action to demand that Beijing address this fact, rather than wait for political goodwill that you already know does not exist.
Ma and his advisors seem congenitally incapable of this, however.

NOTE: My thanks to all the intelligent commentary I read out there..

MEDIA: The New Times representation of The Formula:

China has more than 1,000 missiles along its southeast coast aimed at Taiwan, which was occupied by the Kuomintang military after it retreated to the island following the Communist takeover of China in 1949. Before President Ma took office in 2008 tensions between Beijing and Taipei ran high, when the governing Democratic Progressive Party enacted policies that appeared to move the island closer to formal independence.

The party has its strongest base in southern Taiwan, and its supporters are suspicious of moves toward reunification with the mainland, which some Kuomintang officials advocate. The United States government prefers that the status quo be maintained.

The first sentence there is excellent and should be in wider use. The use of "reunification" in the second paragraph is incorrect but this is certainly not as awful as the alternate universe AP constructs with its generic "split in 1949" Formula. The last paragraph was deleted in later versions of this article. UPDATE: D'oh! M reminds that Taiwan was occupied in 1945. First sentence still not up to par.

REF: An old Epoch Times piece on Chinese Honey traps. Don't miss Far Eastern Sweet Potato on the Ma Administration and this case:
Lo’s case is only the most recent in a series of military scandals to emerge since Ma launched his policy of engagement. What this means, to get back to my initial point, is that the young men and women who every day put their lives on the line to defend Taiwan are doing so amid the increasing likelihood that their entire system may have been compromised, so much so that in the event of war in the Taiwan Strait, their ability to counter Chinese aggression would be severely handicapped. Countless Taiwanese could be killed not because of lack of training or equipment, but because the Ma government looked the other way when, under the guise of “goodwill,” China stole national security secrets and dug holes in our system as termites would to a log. To allow the armed services to be thus undermined and to do nothing to remedy the situation — which is exactly what the Ma administration has been doing, in the name of warm relations — comes very close to treason.
This case is a reminder that Beijing will neither compromise nor cease until our democracy is snuffed out and Taiwan is annexed to its empire.
Daily Links
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.


David on Formosa said...

Michael, you might also be interested to know of some details in a similar case in Australia. The former Minister for Defence Joel Fitzgibbon came into the spotlight last year for his close personal and business relationship with Chinese businesswomen Helen Liu. Fitzgibbon subsequently lost his job over another controversy related to his brother having business dealings with the Department of Defence.

A recent court case revealed allegations that Fitzgibbon had received a payment of $150,000 from Liu and was having an affair with Liu's sister. The court case is actually related to the media reporting on the case. As far as I know Fitzgibbon has not been charged with passing on any classified information to Liu.

Link: 'Rare truth' in Fairfax documents.

Anonymous said...

Sort of geographically more its pancreas. Politically more its spleen.

M said...

Taiwan was occupied by the KMT in 1945, not 1949.

The "split" happened in 1949 because the KMT surrendered control of China, but not Taiwan, to the communists.

Okami said...

Actually what worries me more than anything is Taisugar freezing prices [snark]because we all know how well that works out.[/snark]

I'd suggest everyone stock up on 1-2 year's worth of cooking oil and any other staples effected by the price freeze now while there is some left rather than later when companies stop producing any after their subsidized lot is used sort of like they did in China recently. Let the profiteering begin!

Anonymous said...

The new HEART Taiwan logo is the most awful logo ever designed it looks like a kindergarten art designer did it. shame on Taiwan for paying money to a UK art firm to mock Tawian. this would NEVER happen in Japan or China. YUCK. the slogan is nice, yes, but the iamges are grade C sophmoric. no wonder Taiwan sucks with tourism. nice country ncie people yes but sucky tourism crap and this one takes the cake. coutn me out re Winkreative UK stereotyupe cartoon cahtacters looks like China not Taiwan

Anonymous said...

and … It packs in a bunch of FAKE symbols of Taiwan — Taipei 101 features prominently while the building at the top might be the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall although it could also be a generic BEIJING representation of BEIJING halls . There are also fireworks WTF, lanterns, a teapot, a bird, flower blossoms, a butterfly, WTF? two CARTOON STEEOTYPES SWITH BOWL HAIRCUTS people eating and an Aboriginal motif. WHERE? it is disgusting the entire thing..

The only obvious thing that is perhaps missing is an image of Taiwan’s mountains. ALSO YUP!

blobOfNeurons said...

>it could also be a generic BEIJING representation of BEIJING halls

Yes because they share similarities in real life which only become stronger in cartoon form. Your point?


They're generic (and they should be). But there's nothing insulting about them if that's what you mean. Overreacting much?

>and an Aboriginal motif. WHERE?

If I'm not mistaken, right above the people eating.

Robert Scott Kelly said...

@blobofNeurons. You wrote:

>it could also be a generic BEIJING representation of BEIJING halls

Yes because they share similarities in real life which only become stronger in cartoon form. Your point?"

Traditional Taiwan temple design shares little with what you find in Beijing (other than being raised post and beam structures with sloping roofs). The former structures trace their style back to the Song Dynasty: a key feature is elegance and sophistication as exemplified by sweeping swallowtail eaves. The latter is based on Qing principles that emphasize size and an impression of might. Roof ridges are flat, and the overall structures are squat. Decorative features are minimal, again in direct contrast with traditional Taiwanese temples which are elaborately decorated with wood and stone carving, figures in jiannian, and chochin pottery. In caricature these differences should be more noticable, not less.


"a butterfly, WTF?"

Why not a butterfly? Taiwan has long been known as the "Kingdom of the Butterfly" with over 400 species and one of the world's great migrations and mass overwinterings taking place each year.

Dixteel said...

I think we can all agree on the new logo looks butt ugly. I imagine something more stylish and flowing is prefered.

blobOfNeurons said...

@Robert Scott Kelly

I wasn't aware of that, thanks for enlightening me. (I had assumed that there would be similarities, otherwise Anon might just well have said "That's Beijing not Taiwan!") Therefore, that temple is clearly not a Beijing temple.

Nevertheless, I'm pretty sure Anon meant China as a whole. As you pointed out, lots of Taiwanese temples are based on Song Dynasty architecture which means there are bound to be similar temples throughout various parts of China.

Robert Scott Kelly said...


That temple screams northern Chinese (Palace) style (especially the lack of a swallowtail ridgeline and highly decorative roof). You do see many such structures around Taiwan now in part because of the KMT influence but largely because they are so much cheaper to build. None of them however would be more than a few decades old. As for China, remaining southern style temples (and Song was a southern empire) are limited: in part because of the Cultural Revolutions destructions but more because Song influence remained only on the periphery of the Ming and Qing Empire. Taiwanese settlers adapted an already little used style to local conditions and developed a unique set of decorative arts (that I mentioned above) to go with it. It's fair to say that there is an indigenous temple style to Taiwan, and it is not represented by the cartoon on that logo.