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Home Editorials of Interest Taipei Times Taiwan in need of US-like security clearances

Taiwan in need of US-like security clearances

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White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, who is US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, on Feb. 28 lost his “top secret/sensitive compartmented information-level” security clearance.

The US has a rigorous security clearance system that applies to all personnel with important duties related to national security — not only government personnel, but also those working in major defense-related private companies, such as those dealing with aerospace and sensitive technology.

When they return from overseas trips, they must report in detail about whom they met and what they talked about. If they lie about these things, they might be sacked and, in serious cases, tried and convicted.

Also on Feb. 28, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office announced a package of 31 “favorable measures for Taiwanese” applying to areas such as investment, tax concessions, finance, education, culture, film, television, healthcare and philanthropy.

Although China paints these measures as “favorable for Taiwanese,” it has ulterior motives.

As Premier William Lai (賴清德) said: “The ultimate goal is to annex Taiwan.”

This is a big move by China that will affect Taiwan’s long-term development, so the government and public must work out suitable and effective countermeasures.

The main point of China’s measures is to attract talented people from Taiwan, especially in the fields of education — students and teachers — culture, film, television and healthcare.

By so doing, China aims to cultivate an “army of ants” to infiltrate Taiwan, ready for the day when it launches an attack.

Therefore, the government should establish a security clearance system similar to that in the US, so that students and people working in the fields of education, culture, film and television who are tempted to go to China would know that they would eventually have to obtain security clearance in Taiwan.

If Taiwan establishes a security clearance system, it should include the following three points:

First, when someone who has studied, taught or done cultural, film or television work or other social or commercial activities in China returns to Taiwan to study or work in those fields, they must obtain state security clearance and honestly report on their work and activities in China.

Second, if someone who is studying or teaching, or engaging in cultural, film or television work or other social or commercial activities in China slanders Taiwan or does anything to harm its sovereignty, they must be barred from ministerial and vice-ministerial posts; and chairmanship, board membership, presidency or vice presidency of defense-related companies and those engaged in sensitive technology.

Third, anyone who takes part in or directs anti-Taiwan movements while studying, teaching, or doing cultural, film or television work or other social or commercial activities in China must be barred from being the chief or deputy chief of government departments or of companies dealing with sensitive technology and other major companies.

Furthermore, they should, depending on the circumstances, be prosecuted for their traitorous actions, with no time limit for prosecution.

A security clearance system would be the first line of defense against China’s efforts to absorb Taiwan through its “favorable measures.”

If even a superpower such as the US has such a line of defense, then Taiwan, which is directly threatened by China, needs it even more, and it would be a more effective way of retaining talent than relaxing laws and regulations.

Huang Tien-lin is a national policy adviser.

Translated by Julian Clegg

Source: Taipei Times - Editorials 2018/03/21

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