Chinese Embassy in Cambodia helps scam victims from Taiwan island; DPP incompetence policy failure exposed
Global Times

Photo taken on July 21, 2019 from Xiangshan Mountain shows the Taipei 101 skyscraper in Taipei, southeast China's Taiwan. Photo: Xinhua

Taipei, southeast China's Taiwan. (Photo: Xinhua)

After thousands of Taiwan compatriots were defrauded and trapped in Cambodia, the incompetence of the Taiwan secessionist authorities has been exposed again while the Chinese mainland government is now taking the responsibility of protecting and assisting overseas Chinese nationals, including those from Taiwan.

Unsurprisingly, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities are now playing the trick of shifting blame again as they try to let the angry people and the victims' families within the island pin the blame on the Chinese mainland, so they can cover their failures in protecting Taiwan residents overseas and inaction over cracking down on fraud crimes within the island, experts said.

More importantly, before the secessionist DPP took power in 2016 and abandoned the 1992 Consensus that recognizes the one China principle, the mainland and the island cooperated to jointly fight crimes and safeguard overseas Chinese nationals from both Taiwan island and the mainland, but today, due to the damaged cross-Straits relations worsened by the secessionist DPP, it makes such cooperation extremely difficult, a key reason why so many Taiwan compatriots became the targets of criminal groups in Southeast Asia, analyst said.

The mainland could help
"Taiwan compatriots are Chinese citizens, so if you have any difficulties, please contact the embassy," Chinese Embassy in Cambodia told the Taiwan compatriots after some of them were reportedly forced to join online gambling, telecommunications fraud and other illegal activities and have been subjected to movement restriction in Cambodia.

In a statement issued on Saturday night, the embassy said they will provide timely and efficient consular protection services to all Chinese citizens in Cambodia, including Taiwan compatriots, noting that safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of Taiwan compatriots is the duty of China's diplomatic missions abroad.

In Cambodia, "we have always paid equal attention to Chinese citizens from Taiwan province," whether in the COVID-19 vaccination program that the Chinese government launched for overseas Chinese citizens or to rescue those who are in difficulty, said the embassy.

According to Taiwan media reports, some Taiwan people who went to Cambodia for job opportunities were employed in jobs which apparently were not commensurate with their pay, and some were subjected to violence, including imprisonment, beatings, abuse and even sexual assault.

More than 8,600 Taiwan people went to Cambodia from January to July, and only 5,000 returned to the island, with about 3,000 people still stranded there, reports said.

Victims of DPP's secessionism
Complaints and dissatisfaction have been voiced by the people in the island over the failure of the DPP authorities of dealing with the crimes, as they failed to protect the Taiwan compatriots overseas, but the secessionist authorities try to defend themselves with trick of shifting blame to the Chinese mainland for such cases based on ridiculous pretexts, without providing effective solutions.

Joseph Wu, leader of the "external affairs authority" of Taiwan, groundlessly claimed on Saturday that the Cambodian transnational fraud is a "legacy of China's Belt and Road Initiative and it is Chinese [mainland] fraud groups that have made Taiwan people suffer." Taiwan authorities have set up a special task force to help them, reported Central News Agency on Saturday.

Experts said it is the incompetence of the DPP authorities that has trapped Taiwan compatriots in Cambodia and failed to crack down such transnational crimes, and the "New Southbound Policy" promoted by the DPP is a key reason for the tragedies today.

The "New Southbound Policy" was promoted by Tsai Ing-wen, the current regional leader of the island and the head of the DPP, after her authorities ruined cross-Straits relations due to its secessionist approaches and seek more alternatives to remedy the damage to trade and people-to-people exchanges with the mainland by increasing inputs to Southeast Asia without serious planning and consideration, and those Taiwan compatriots trapped in Southeast Asia today are the victims of such unwise secessionist policy.

One of the reasons why this many Taiwan compatriots have been "lured" to so-called high-salary jobs in Cambodia is due to the wealth gap between the rich and poor, and the difficulty for young people to find jobs in Taiwan island, Zhang Wensheng, deputy dean of the Taiwan Research Institute at Xiamen University, told the Global Times on Sunday.

The Tsai authorities advocated the "New Southbound policy" to encourage Taiwan people to invest, do business and work in Southeast Asia, without pointing out the high risks accompanied by the policy. Attracted by the so-called high-paying jobs, many young people went overseas, only to fall into an elaborate fraud, said Zhang.

The DPP pushed forward the "New Southbound policy" after taking office in 2016, and budgeted NT $25 billion within four years. However, the authorities have been unable to establish direct communication channels with most Southeast Asian countries. In Cambodia, for example, Taiwan people can only seek assistance from the Ho Chi Minh City office in Vietnam if they encounter problems, according to Taiwan media.

The DPP authorities have always tried to wash away its image of incompetence by passing the buck to the mainland whenever they face criticism from the people in the island, said Zhang.

At a press conference on Friday, Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, pointed out that the DPP authorities' passive attitude towards the calls of the Taiwan people to safeguard their legitimate rights and interests, and fabrication of lies to blame the mainland fully reveals their consistent tactics of engaging in political manipulation, inciting confrontation and deceiving the people, with no regard for the lives and interests of the Taiwan people.

The fraud cases are also a result of the lack of law enforcement in Taiwan that gives local gangs space to engage in transnational crime, Xu Liping, a research fellow on Southeast Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Sunday, noting that the key to fundamentally solving the problems is to cut off the basis of such local personnel groups in the island.

An editorial in the China Times, a Taiwan media, called on the DPP authorities to collaborate with mainland authorities to combat transnational crime in Cambodia.

"It [DPP] failed to help rescue people on the brink of crisis, unwilling to use the help of the mainland, and saying it is difficult to carry out rescue measures because it has no diplomatic ties with Cambodia," said the media.

The Chinese mainland and Taiwan island had long been cooperating in fighting crimes abroad, so cooperation is possible to jointly crack down fraud and rescue victims in Cambodia. But such joint actions have not been seen much amid the heightened tension across the Taiwan Straits triggered by Tsai authorities' provocation, said Zhang.

The mainland can play a bigger role in helping and rescuing Taiwan compatriots in need in Cambodia through the judicial cooperation mechanism with the Cambodian government, with which the DPP authorities have no such direct link, he said.

A staffer of the consular office in Sihanoukville, a coastal city in Cambodia, told the Global Times on Sunday that there have been calls to the Chinese consular office in the city from Taiwan compatriots in Cambodia for consular services.

Feng Ziquan, secretary of the chairman of the Friendship of Fujian General Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia, a local Chinese chamber of commerce formed by business persons from China's Fujian Province, told the Global Times on Sunday that fraud has become more frequent in the last 5-6 years, and the local Chinese chambers of commerce have helped the Chinese embassy handle the issue of assisting Chinese victims.

Feng said the Fujian chamber used to take care of everything for the victims until they safely boarded the flight back home. Now, due to the increasing number of victims, they can only provide full package service to those who have no money to buy a flight ticket. For others, the chamber helps arrange work and accommodation for them so they can raise money themselves to get home.

Many people came to Cambodia for work, some went to shoe factories, some went to the real estate industry, and many victims of fraud did not do enough background research into the "companies" that hired them before they came to Cambodia, or they get brainwashed by the criminal groups with the lie of "reaping without sowing" and even help the criminal groups to defraud their own friends and family, Feng noted.

The Chinese government has always attached great importance to safeguarding the safety and legitimate rights and interests of overseas Taiwan compatriots, from providing consular services, to assisting in handling foreign civil disputes and economic and criminal cases related to Taiwan, to evacuating overseas Chinese in case of major emergencies, said Ma.