In an emerging story unique in the annals of crime, prosecutors of the exiled Republic of China claim that Roger Lin, founder of Taiwan Civil Government, is the mastermind of an expensive and elaborate political hoax to deceive his supporters into donating money. Lin, who was arrested with his wife Julian and five others in May 2018, has been charged with fraud for claiming the United States will help expel the ROC from Taiwan.
TCG’s efforts to influence American policy makers since the election in 2016 of Donald Trump have been considerable and involved the expenditure of lots of money. The spending has all the appearances of a group pursuing a political agenda rather than a crime ring seeking to trick supporters as ROC prosecutors would have us believe. One example is a full-page ad in the New York Times.
The advertisement, timed for the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly, urged Taiwan’s membership in the international organization. TCG shelled out $114,437 to the newspaper for the space and another $3,525 to a pricey public relations firm for the ad design, for a total cost of $117,962.
Perhaps the money was not well spent, that could be a matter of debate, but poor fiscal decisions are not a necessarily a crime. While it is not good to waste money, it is not the same as stealing money. The question becomes one of intent. Was TCG trying to get Taiwan into the United Nations or were the group leaders trying to hoodwink members into larger donations?
The New York Times, the nation’s leading newspaper, was eager to take TCG money for the advertising revenue it brought in. However, editors have made sure the transaction was kept in the sales division and not transferred to a news desk. The Times has failed to print a single word about the arrests of its advertisers or the still being revealed story of TCG lobbying in Washington which scored a White House connection with Kellyanne Conway.
The newspaper’s silence on the ROC prosecution of TCG leaders is getting to be a pattern as they join POLITICO, Foreign Policy, Congressional Quarterly Roll Call Live, and The McLaughlin Group in failing to report on the fraud arrests despite the fact their sponsors languish in solitary confinement, incommunicado, and without bail. The embarrassment of the news organizations should not prevent them from doing their job.
Seven decades of unresolved status has left everyone confused about the island’s future as Taiwan, once known as Formosa, is moving steadily toward being known as Chinese Taipei. In the lawsuit Roger Lin v. United States, the District of Columbia federal appellate court declared the Taiwanese to be stateless people and said they live in “political purgatory.” Roger Lin is learning first hand just how unpleasant that purgatory can be.