China

Taiwanese Triad Boss Zhang Anle Admits Ties With China’s Communist Officials

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Zhang Anle at a rally in April 2017 (photo by KOKUYO via Wikimedia Commons)

Zhang Anle (張安樂), former boss of Taiwan‘s notorious Bamboo Gang, admitted to having ties with China’s Communist government but denied charges that he received funds from Beijing.

Zhang, commonly known as the ‘White Wolf’, fled Taiwan in the mid-1990’s after the government launched a crackdown on criminal syndicates. He moved to mainland China, where he lived for 17 years and reportedly built ties with Communist Party officials.

In 2013 he returned to Taiwan and founded the Party for the Promotion of Chinese Unification (中華統一促進黨, PPCU), which seeks to ‘reunify’ Taiwan and mainland China on the basis of Beijing’s ‘one country, two systems‘ framework that was used by the Communist government to incorporate Hong Kong and Macau.

In an interview with China’s state-run newspaper The Global Times (環球時報) Zhang clearly stated that he intended to “nurture the grass-roots level red [i.e. pro-Communist] electorate” in Taiwan.

Since its foundation the PPCU has been involved in various violent clashes with Taiwanese activists opposed to China’s ‘reunification‘ agenda. The most recent of such episodes happened on September 24, when a PPCU member hit and wounded with a stick a student who was protesting a music festival co-sponsored by a mainland Chinese TV show. The festival was viewed by some as part of China’s ‘united front‘ strategy.

Taiwan’s authorities suspect that China funds Taiwanese triads in order to intimidate individuals who oppose Beijing’s agenda. The tactic doesn’t seem to have paid off so far, as a majority of Taiwanese are opposed to closer ties with mainland China.

The Taiwanese police has launched a crackdown on triads and the government has announced that it will speed up the passing of the Political Parties Act, which would allow the authorities to better monitor criminal organizations operating under the guise of political associations.

In a recent interview with the Financial Times, Zhang Anle admitted to having ties with China’s Communist regime, although he denied receiving funds from it.

“We have contact, yes. Sometimes we talk about policy,” he said, adding that he travels frequently to China and has dealings with Communist officials. But he stressed that his ties with Communist Party members are no different from those of other Taiwanese business people.

Zhang said that his supporters have received small financial “benefits” from Chinese authorities such as discounted travel expenses, and that Taiwanese business people living in mainland China make to donations to his party to help build better relationships with officials. Zhang admitted that Beijing views him as an ally due to his pro-China stance.

He denied that Beijing is directly involved in his party’s political activities, and explained that the only instruction he has ever received from Communist officials was to drop the use of People’s Republic of China flags because they would be too “provocative” in Taiwan.



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