China: Fear of China’s election meddling triggers reforms across Pacific | Fumi Matsumoto & Kensaku Ihaha/Nikkei Asian Review
From Taiwan to Australia, governments across the Pacific are launching new laws and organizations to guard against possible Chinese interference in upcoming elections. A slew of reports alleging Chinese attempts to influence local politics have fueled concern throughout the region. Beijing denies these claims, but other countries in Asia-Pacific could follow suit. Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party unveiled a bill at the end of November to curb “hostile” external influence in the island’s elections, which it aims to pass by the end of the year. The legislation would impose a sentence of up to five years for those who campaign, make political donations, or spread fake news under the instructions of a hostile power — a veiled reference to Beijing. Many Taiwanese worry that Beijing is covertly steering their island toward reunification with the mainland. A June rally against Chinese intervention drew more than 100,000 attendees. Recent reports of a self-proclaimed Chinese spy, who said he was part of operations to meddle with Taiwan’s local elections last year and is now seeking asylum in Australia, have further stoked concerns.Full Article: Fear of China's election meddling triggers reforms across Pacific - Nikkei Asian Review.