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Tech billionaire unveils plan to fund training for 3 million Taiwanese against potential Chinese invasion

UMC founder Robert Tsao labels Chinese propaganda as 'nonsense'

Robert Tsao (right) speaks at a press conference on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022. 

Robert Tsao (right) speaks at a press conference on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Tech billionaire Robert Tsao (曹興誠) announced on Thursday (Sept. 1) that he has reinstated his Taiwanese citizenship and shared his plan to train Taiwanese civilians against a Chinese invasion.

Tsao, the founder of the world's second-largest contract chipmaker, United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC), called a press conference to show his national ID card, saying he had renounced his Singaporean citizenship for Taiwanese citizenship. He said he would stay in Taiwan to defend the country in the face of China's repeated military threats.

Tsao, who gave up his Taiwanese citizenship in protest of a government-led investigation against his company for investing in a Chinese business project in 2011, briefly talked about his changed view on China, citing the Hong Kong democracy movement as a "wake-up call."

"I am excited about regaining my Taiwanese citizenship and want to stand with my fellow countrymen to fight against the invasion from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and to safeguard Taiwan, making Taiwan a "land of the free and the home of the brave."

Chinese Communist Party's lies

Tsao said what happened to the democracy movement in Hong Kong proves the CCP easily breaks its promise. He said he was appalled by then-Chief Executive Carrie Lam's bloody repression of pro-democracy protesters and the communist party's overwhelming propaganda machine against Hongkongers, urging the people of Taiwan to learn from Hong Kong.

Calling the CCP a "thug" and not trustworthy, Tsao urged the people of Taiwan not to buy into Chinese propaganda that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one family. He also rejected the CCP's false claim that "Taiwan is an inherent part of China," calling it "nonsense."

He said Taiwan has never been ruled by the communist party and there is no legitimacy for China to take Taiwan.

Tsao condemned Chinese officials' recent threatening remarks about slaughtering and re-educating the Taiwanese, saying that would be a "crime against humanity" and a "war crime," as stipulated in international codes.

3 million civilian warriors

In response to increasing Chinese threats which began after a 19-hour visit to Taiwan by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Tsao in early August announced a plan to donate NT$3 billion (US$100 million) to boost the country's defense department and enhance its military capabilities. At Thursday's press conference, Tsao revealed more details about the plan, including a fund of NT$600 million to support tactical training for 3 million civilians in three years.

A private military training organization, Kuma Academy (黑熊學院), has been commissioned to carry out the training, he said.

Puma Shen (沈伯洋), the co-founder of Kuma Academy, said the organization aims to train 3 million civilians out of the country's 9 million households to learn various defense skills, how to provide first aid, operate unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), and use radio communications. Sheng explained that the purpose of the training is to increase civilian capabilities and motivations against the backdrop of repeated threats from China.

Tsao also introduced another NT$400 million plan to train over 300,000 civilian sharpshooters as a potential combat force to deter a Chinese occupation.

Taiwanese writer and entrepreneur Chou Fan (范疇) has been appointed as the host of the civilian training program. Fan said he hoped to work with the military and police departments across the nation, instead of specific cities, with access to proper facilities to carry out civilian training and develop their shooting skills.