A unique international crime story of alleged fraud, White House connections, and an exiled Chinese government has gotten more complicated with the death of chief defendant Roger Lin in October. Lin and others were charged by Republic of China in-exile prosecutors with cheating members of Taiwan Civil Government with supposed false claims about the group identity card benefits and support for TCG from the United States.
Roger Lin, who founded TCG and served as Secretary General, died without naming a successor. Widow Julian Lin served as defacto leader during Roger’s incapacity in the last months of his life. Julian, before her May 2018 arrest, also lead TCG delegations on trips to Washington, New York, Zurich, and Japan. In November, Prime Minister Tsai Tsai Yuan, next in line, announced his leadership at a “Roundtable” meeting and received majority support of those present. All three were arrested for fraud. The ongoing prosecution of TCG leaders continues although charges were dismissed against Roger Lin after his death.
The decade-old battle between the TCG and ROC has been conducted in the streets with regular and frequent noisy parades, at political and media events, in United States courtrooms, and now in a Taoyuan District Courtroom. TCG seeks to expel the ROC from Taiwan with American assistance while the ROC seeks to crush TCG as evidenced by the destruction of the group headquarters in July.
Taiwan’s longstanding unresolved international status under occupation administration since the end of World War II, called by a federal court a “strategic ambiguity,” has created a plethora of groups seeking to throw off the yoke of the Republic of China in-exile. Taiwan Civil Government emerged as one of the loudest and most controversial advocacy groups. With the election of Donald Trump the group has spent several million dollars on attempts to influence Trump and scored an inside connection at the White House with presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway.
Julian Lin has become the international face of TCG with the lawsuit Roger & Julian Lin vs. ROC & USA, full-page ads in the New York Times, a number of Washington media events, and by leading delegations on foreign trips. Lin as been called the group’s “First Lady” and “Ms. Secretary General” and is well liked by many.
Tsai Tsai Yuan, a former political prisoner held at the notorious Green Island Prison and tortured during the White Terror era of ROC rule, is the Prime Minister and was second in command. Tsai is very popular within TCG and has received eighty percent show of support from the “Roundtable” which informally makes consensus decisions.
Both Tsai and Lin continue to face charges from their common foe. If Roger Lin had lied about American support and was guilty of fraud of some sort, something that will never by proven against him now that he is dead, it is possible that neither Julian nor Tsai were aware or may have had differing degrees of culpability. Prosecutors are sure to work on driving a wedge between the two defendants.
Tsai is busy trying to keep up group morale, charting a future course, and keeping the donations flowing in. Tsai’s faction is talking about “TCG 3.0” indicating a change from the past. Lin is busy working the internet posting photos from past events showcasing her vital role. Julian’s faction is holding on to the name “TCG Foundation” and is trying to follow Roger’s footsteps.. New calls from TCG members for fiscal transparency may be a sign of group maturity or may signal trouble ahead. Meanwhile, twice a month Lin and Tsai must show up in court as the prosecution against them slowly grinds on.