The recent death of Roger Lin, founder of Taiwan Civil Government, leaves his widow, Julian, as the main target of Republic of China in-exile prosecutors in one of the world’s most unusual criminal prosecutions. The Lins were charged with cheating their own group members with false claims about the TCG identity card and support from the United States, The couple were arrested in a highly publicized police raid on May 10, 2018, and held incommunicado, without bail, for nearly five months. Bail was granted only after TCG bought a full page advertisement in the New York Times complaining about the human rights violation of no bond.
In addition to steep bail, which loyal group members raised, the Lins were ordered to report to a police station every day at 7 p.m. Roger’s failing health from advanced cancer led to a relaxation of his daily sign-in but Julian was still required to appear daily at the police station. On my most recent fact-finding trip to Taiwan I asked Julian if I could accompany her inside the police station. She agreed and I made two successive sign-in visits after which prosecutors suddenly dropped the daily requirement to three times a week. The prosecutors gave no reason for the reduction.
Taiwan Civil Government has been waging a decade long war with the exiled Republic of China. TCG seeks expulsion from Taiwan of the Chinese government. TCG seeks United States assistance to rid Taiwan of the ROC which has ruled the island since the end of World War II when the occupation regime was imposed by the American military. The group’s inroads in Washington with the Trump White House have been closely monitored by ROC operatives. The May 2018 raid which led to the fraud arrests of the Lins and others followed by days a public announcement of a meeting between a TCG delegation and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. The arrests scuttled the high level Washington get-together.
Prosecutors and police have been busy harassing and hounding individual TCG members, including some the prosecution has identified as victims. Prosecution interrogations were claimed to be about protecting group members from being cheated. Instead, so-called victims were threatened and lied to during interrogations. Police surveillance teams video TCG parades focusing on facial identification.
Julian Lin holds no official position with TCG but is viewed as a First Lady by group members. Julian did join her husband in suing the ROC in federal court over the 1947 Nationality Acts, Roger& Julian Lin vs. Republic of China & United States, seeking to restore Japanese citizenship to Taiwanese. Lin has been questioned about the litigation during the ongoing and protracted fraud trial. The case was ultimately dismissed for being brought decades too late.
Julian is a single parent with two young children to care for and has had to juggle her daily responsibilities with the burden of the daily visits to the police station. The ROC has her travel documents, imposed a high bail, and confiscated her personal cash reducing any flight risk leaving the onerous sign-in requirement a punitive burden in what is increasingly looking like a political prosecution.