Taiwan's New Party spokesman rejects allegations about funding from China

China drew up list of rewards for contacting potential spies: prosecutors

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New Party official Wang Ping-chung at his news conference Tuesday. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Hours after accusations he had been involved in a Chinese spy ring, New Party spokesman Wang Ping-chung (王炳忠) denied Tuesday that he had accepted US$200,000 (NT$5.9 million) from China’s government to fund his online activities.

Earlier in the day, Zhou Hongxu (周泓旭), a former Chinese student who is appealing against a 14-month prison sentence for trying to recruit a spy, faced new charges that he had been using Wang and two other New Party officials to set up a spy ring.

A news release from prosecutors alleged that the Taiwan Affairs Office (國台辦), the Chinese government department in charge of relations with Taiwan, had supplied funds to help two initiatives Wang was involved in, the Fire News site and the New China Youth group.

The ultimate aim was to infiltrate Taiwan’s military and obtain confidential information, according to a Central News Agency report.

In 2015, the Taiwan Affairs Office had even worked out a financial reward system for spy work, with NT$3,000 (US$101) if a target befriended Wang’s Facebook page and frequently liked posts, up to NT$50,000 (US$1,700) in the event of a private talk between the two, prosecutors said.

The New Party members also offered names of potential allies in the military or of young people who shared their political views and might go on to take military entrance examinations, the report said.

According to prosecutors, Wang’s father lost US$2,000 of the original funding, leading to China spreading its subsidies by paying out about NT$15 million (US$507,000) per year for three years, with the demand that Wang travel to Beijing in person to accept the money.

Later Tuesday, Wang held a news conference, denying all the accusations and challenging prosecutors to present evidence.