Beijing has upped its efforts to steal technology and poach talent from Taiwan. According to an April 28 report by Reuters, the Taiwanese government accused the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) of waging economic warfare to stunt its country’s technology sector by stealing intellectual property and luring away engineers in an attempt to boost the Mainland semiconductor industry’s self-sufficiency.
Although Taiwan has already implemented strict measures to prevent communist China’s efforts to undermine the key industry, Parliament has moved to take strengthening its laws one step further. However, officials have warned the CCP is attempting to circumvent rules by setting up front companies scattered on the island, utilizing Taiwanese headhunters, and other underhanded methods.
As Taiwan is both one of the most digitally and technologically innovative nations globally and a world leader in the semiconductor industry, cases of communist China’s efforts to mimic that success, at any cost, including through industrial espionage, has been a longtime matter of concern to the country’s legislators.
Consequently, four Taiwanese legislators from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party are heading a proposition to revise the country’s commercial secrets laws to broaden the definition of what is deemed a trade secret and toughen penalties.
According to a report to Parliament on recommended amendments, Taiwan’s National Security Bureau found the CCP was the most prominent foreign force involved in industrial espionage observed in recent years.
The report stated, “The Chinese Communists’ orchestrated theft of technology from other countries poses a major threat to democracies,” adding, “The aim of the Chinese Communists’ infiltration into our technology is not only about economic interests, but also has a political intention to make Taiwan poorer and weaker.”
Taiwan’s Economy Ministry said in the report that the CCP was seeking to boost its semiconductor prowess by “poaching” Taiwanese talent “as well as obtaining our country’s industry’s commercial secrets, to harm the country’s competitiveness.” Cabinet members have met on many occasions to converse about tackling the problem, the Ministry added.
Ho Hsin-Chun, one of the legislators who proposed the amendments, said “The infiltration of China’s red supply chain is everywhere,” in comments given to a Parliamentary committee meeting, emphasizing the imminent threat to global trade and fair competition is extremely serious.
Hu Mu-yuan, deputy head of Taiwan’s National Security Bureau, suggested a strong backing for the measures, “As long as it’s helpful for our country’s security and interests, we support it,” he said.
“Preventing Taiwan’s key technology and high-tech personnel from being infiltrated by the ‘red supply chain’ has become an important task to protect our industry’s competitiveness and ensure our economic security.”
It is not clear when or if the adjustments will be passed into law. The Justice Ministry’s report suggested further discussion of the legislation’s wording is still required.