Analysis: A detailed look into Taiwanese espionage on mainland China
May 19, 2010 4 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun has published the first part of a captivating two-part examination into Taiwanese espionage activities in China, authored by Tsuyoshi Nojima, the paper’s former Taipei bureau chief. In the article, Nojima highlights the cases of a number of former civilian agents of Taiwan’s Military Information Bureau (MIB), including that of Lin Yi-lin. The MIB recruited Lin in the late 1980s, during what has been called the modern heyday of Taiwanese intelligence activities in China. Taiwan spies had been active on the Chinese mainland for decades following the Chinese Civil War, but a nationwide counterintelligence crackdown by Beijing in the late 1970s virtually decimated Taiwan’s espionage networks inside China. It took nearly a decade for the MIB to reestablish its informant architecture on the mainland. By that time, the rapprochement between the two rival countries was beginning, with commercial ties rapidly accelerating. The unprecedented ease of travel by business people between the two countries inspired the MIB to initiate a systematic campaign of recruiting Taiwanese business executives as civilian operatives. Unfortunately for these new recruits, they were given little training on intelligence-gathering techniques, surveillance evasion, etc, which resulted in several hundreds of them being arrested in the 1990s, and given espionage convictions by the Chinese government. Lin Yi-lin was one of these arrestees. He was captured in 1994 and returned to Taiwan in late 2009, after spending nearly 15 years in a Chinese prison in Fujian province, ten of which were in solitary confinement. Now Lin is among dozens of former MIB recruits who are suing the Bureau for failing to prepare them for the complexities of their mission, as well as for allegedly abandoning them to their fate.