TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Tens of thousands of Taiwanese are said to be planning to turn up at the country's nearly 14,900 polling stations on Jan. 11 to report the election results first-hand, wittingly or unwittingly, to individuals affiliated with Beijing.
According to sources familiar with the matter, Beijing is set to repeat the same trick it pulled in 2018 to obtain election results before, or soon after, the polls closed with the assistance of China-friendly citizens, reported Up Media. These people mostly have participated in sponsored events such as trips to China or meetings over dinner in Taiwan.
Communist China has been long engaged in building and maintaining good relations with local Taiwanese, possibly for as long as a decade, according to the report. It has organized meetups and tours under the auspices of temples, township-level governments, and cultural associations as well as hosted members of pro-China Taiwanese political parties over the years.
Such events are designed to promote mutual understanding as well as a sense of Chinese identity. So far, they have met some success.
Up Media reported that Beijing has recruited tens of thousands of pro-China Taiwanese citizens to monitor the vote-counting process or conduct exit polls through its affiliate networks. These helpers are expected to gather polling information and inform local leaders, who will pass the information on to Beijing for its own use, with or without helpers' knowledge.
In Taiwan's 2018 elections, this strategy was carried out successfully across the island country with the exception of Taipei, where delayed vote counting kept Beijing from gaining insight and results from the capital's mayoral election.