Taiwan’s legislature passed a contentious law on December 31 to block political interference from China, before the upcoming presidential and legislative elections. The Anti-Infiltration Law is aimed at diluting China’s attempt to influence Taiwan’s internal politics and diplomacy. Legislators of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), led by President Tsai Ing-wen, said that the law will thwart foreign interference and manipulation.
The self-governing island republic considers itself as sovereign while China claims the province as Beijing’s territory under its one-China policy. Chinese President Xi Jinping has asserted, through his speeches, that China has the right to use force in order to bring Taiwan under its control but Beijing prefers “peaceful reunification”. In 2016, China severed ties with Taiwan government after Tsai was elected as President.
Earlier, Tsai had said that several other countries have already passed such legislation to prevent China’s interference in their internal affairs. She opined that Taiwan needs the legislation more than any other country as it is in direct conflict with China and faces threats of infiltration. But Kuomintang, the main opposition party, had criticised the bill and accused the DPP of using it as a political tool to gain votes in the upcoming elections by painting the former as agents of Chinese Communist Party.
Taiwan’s President had targeted the opposition while speaking at a policy presentation and said that some people consider the “democratic protection net” as a provocation. Calling it a negative and undesirable view, the Taiwanese President said that people who have concerns about the legislation should explain their issue in detail instead of empty phrases against the law. In an apparent reference to China, the bill is aimed at prohibiting political activities and funding from “foreign hostile forces” but Beijing has constantly denied interfering in Taiwan’s politics.
Recently, China sailed its newly commissioned aircraft career into the Taiwan Strait on December 26 to flex its muscle in the region. Taiwan’s Defence Ministry, in a statement, said that the aircraft carrier Shandong, accompanied by the frigate, sailed from North to South via the Taiwan Strait. Such efforts by China in the disputed territory forced DPP to fast-track the legislation and push through the parliament.