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Taiwan's "cash diplomacy" infiltrates in US think tanks for years
Published: Sep 28, 2022 06:53 PM
Taipei Photo:IC

Taipei Photo:IC

The repeated unscrupulous visits by US politicians and lawmakers to the island of Taiwan have increased vigilance among many people on the island who have taken note of the separatist Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)'s "dollar diplomacy" and its destructive impacts.

"What are they going to sell us this time?" "Don't these politicians always come to ask for money?" Many people from the island commented on social media over a recent trip by former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and the visit in July of US Senator Rick Scott.

However, DPP's "dollar diplomacy" has gone far beyond said politicians, already reaching the echelons of US government lobby groups and so-called political think tanks.

Media sources in Taiwan have revealed that various political exchanges such as US politicians' visits to the island are a result of the island's "dollar diplomacy" offered to the US' PR firms and lobby groups, according to the People's Daily.

Observers said the think tanks have a lot of influence on American politics, and their reports are crucial references for news reporting and of government policy. Therefore, they help shape both government action and public opinion on key topics.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) has kept appearing as a major source of funding for think tanks in the US, which have made increasingly louder calls to push the US to become more closely involved in the Taiwan question at the risk of instigating military clashes with China, Alan Macleod, a senior staff writer from US news website MintPress, shared with the Global Times in a previous piece on how he assessed the relationship between the strong upsurge in anti-China rhetoric in Washington and the money pouring into US think tanks from the island of Taiwan. 

In April 2021, Macleod released a report on the MintPress, in which he, by studying financial reports from the island of Taiwan, found that the island has doled out millions of dollars to many of the largest and most influential think tanks in the US in recent years. This has coincided with an increasing number of reports warning of China's economic rise and demands for the US to intervene more in disputes between the Chinese mainland and the island. 

He also wrote that in 2019, TECRO donated between $250,000 and $499,999 to the Brookings Institute. Tech companies have also given large sums to this organization. In turn, the Brookings Institute staff like Richard Bush, a former member of the National Intelligence Council and US national intelligence officer for East Asia, routinely condemned China's position on the Taiwan question.

Other US think tanks that have also been found to be receiving donations from TECRO include the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Atlantic Council, and the Hudson Institute. 

The people in Taiwan have long been cynical of the DPP's "dollar diplomacy," which they see as the DPP's selfish drive to seek "Taiwan independence," and many suggest the money should be used in improving their own people's living standards rather than being wasted on political games and accruing debt. If the money can be used to offer interest-free education loans to students or to invest more in infrastructure, it will gain more solid public support, Sheng Jiuyuan, director of the Taiwan Research Center, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Global Times