Co-opting Individuals with External Implications: Business Elites, Democrats, Civil Servants, Educators and Taiwanese
Beijing’s extensive and intensive united front activities in Hong Kong range from the business people to democrats and from civil servants to educators. Nevertheless, united front activities in the form of using individuals and interest groups to lobby for the political support of foreigners and overseas Chinese could be potentially and legally problematic. Even in Taiwan, united front activities conducted by Beijing on the Taiwanese can be seen as moves “violating” the Taiwan law, threatening Taipei’s national security and operating espionage work. As such, the line between legality and illegality is clear once united front work is conducted in places outside mainland China, Macao and Hong Kong. Taiwan under the rule of the Democratic Progressive Party is particularly sensitive and resistant to Beijing’s united front work, which is seen as politically subversive, legally problematic and socially destabilizing by those Taiwanese who have a very strong Taiwan identity and who harbor pro-Taiwan “independence” sentiments.