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‘Bribing’ Voters With Chinese Covid Tests: Couple Charged

Prosecutors announced Tuesday that a Taiwanese couple is being charged with several offenses for allegedly buying votes with Chinese Covid tests before the island’s local elections.
The “anti-infiltration statute,” intended to combat influence from China, which sees self-ruled Taiwan as a part of its territory and has threatened to annex the island, is said to have been broken by Chiu Jui-lien and her husband.

The rule, which was promoted by President Tsai Ing-ruling wen’s party in 2019, prohibits “hostile” foreign forces from engaging in election-related lobbying, campaigning, making political contributions, or disseminating false information.

According to a statement from the Shihlin district prosecutor’s office, Chiu, who was running for borough chief in Taipei City, and her husband were indicted on Monday for distributing Chinese Covid tests to seek votes.

The Pingtan Comprehensive Experimental Zone in China’s Fujian province, which was founded in 2009 with the aim of fostering regional development and its ties to Taiwan, provided the free tests.

Prosecutors claim that the pair imported 6,000 tests using 60 “dummy accounts” in order to avoid receiving the requisite government authorisation for a shipment of more than 100 kits.

Later, they provided the exams to locals in exchange for their support in the elections held on November 26. Chiu finally lost

The couple broke laws governing the import and supply of medical products and were “paid by a source of infiltration” to engage in bribery, according to the prosecution.

According to the statement, the indictment seeks to “guarantee that foreign hostile forces will not infiltrate and interfere with the elections in order to maintain a fair electoral environment.”

China has become more bellicose towards Taiwan under President Xi Jinping, with Beijing ramping up military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Taipei since the 2016 election of Tsai.

The president stepped down Saturday as head of her ruling party after it was defeated in the local elections, securing just five cities and counties compared with the Beijing-friendly main opposition Kuomintang party’s 13.

She will stay on as president until her second and final four-year term ends in May 2024.

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