One of the most unique tales in the annals of crime stories got a little stranger with a surrealistic masquerade ball where Taiwanese activists dressed as seventeenth-century European dandies. The gala event at Taiwan Civil Government headquarters replaced an annual rally where Roger Lin would speak to a fawning audience like a head of state. Lin and his wife Julian face trial with potential long prison sentences for allegedly making false claims about TCG identification cards and vanity license plates to obtain donations from group members.
Out on bond after harsh, incommunicado, pretrial detention, the Lins have stepped away from a public role in the organization. Roger Lin founded the group a decade ago and serves as Secretary General. Lin suffers from progressive prostate cancer and has turned over day to day operations of TCG to six members of an executive committee.
The big ball, where everyone seemed to be having a good time, must have made a small fortune for costume suppliers. These 560 masqueraders were the TCG elite, big donors, junketeers, and titleholders. That so much money and gaiety was flowing at a time when the group’s founder faces prison as large bonds and legal expenses abound is an unexpected development in the ongoing crime story. One can only imagine the kind of party TCG will put on if the Lins are acquitted.
The story of Roger Lin’s prosecution by the exiled Chinese government that he seeks to expel from Taiwan is unknown to most Americans. Although the political overtones of the case shout for attention, the English-speaking news media ignores a story lost in the “strategic ambiguity” that clouds Taiwan’s status. Even media houses that have taken TCG money for advertising or events, like the New York Times, POLITICO, Foreign Policy, and Roll Call Live ignore the ongoing prosecution of the Lins and others and do not report on the case.
One thing that those costumed dancers know that the American public does not is how far up in Donald Trump’s administration TCG influence peddlers reached. Lobbyists Neil Hare and Shelley Hymes set up a meet with Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway and a Heritage Foundation event with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Julian Lin did meet with Conway at a POLITICO event sponsored by Taiwan Civil Government. The session with Ross was abruptly canceled when word of the fraud arrests in Taiwan finally reached Washington. The news whiteout has kept Washington insiders off balance as they wait for details of the case to be revealed. Meanwhile, ROC prosecutors try to make a case over identity cards and vanity license plates while avoiding the group activities in Washington.
Taiwan Civil Government, structured as a shadow government, is strongly pro-American. The group is practically a Trump fan club and has large portraits of Trump in TCG offices. If President Trump ever decides to play the Taiwan card in his international poker game with China he will find eager support from TCG masqueraders for an American takeover.
Key members of TCG believe that the charges against Roger and Julian Lin stem from notice of the Heritage Foundation event which was to feature a session with Secretary Ross. The midnight raid at TCG headquarters in May shortly followed formal announcement of the Heritage event and TCG members believe the arrests were made to stop TCG inroads with the White House.