Pro-Taiwan activists stage a rally outside the UN headquarters in New York. Photo: Twitter

Taiwan’s Overseas Community Affairs Council and Foreign Ministry are working together under a common national-security imperative to counter China’s tactics to contain the activities and muzzle the voice of the island’s envoys and residents around the world.

Beijing has been accused of deploying pro-unification groups to try to sway public opinion overseas, in particular in the US, Canada, Europe, Japan and Southeast Asian nations. They do this by using rallies, seminars and veiled propaganda. Meanwhile, Taiwanese envoys may sometimes face expulsion and Taiwanese passport holders can be denied access to international organizations as a result of Beijing flexing its political and economic muscle.

The United Nations has stopped allowing Taiwanese nationals using Taiwan-issued travel documents to enter its headquarters and offices in New York and Geneva after Tsai Ing-wen, of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, became president in 2016. The move is believed to be the result of pressure exerted by China, which is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and is one of the biggest contributors to UN funding.

Beijing is also attempting to dominate the narrative when it comes to the teaching of Mandarin overseas and Chinese-language broadcasting, as part of its comprehensive “united front” effort.

But the community council that is responsible for liaison with overseas Taiwanese said Beijing’s efforts to isolate Taiwan always backfired, as overseas Taiwanese have united to defend their island’s sovereignty. It found in a recent survey that most were still opposed to the “one country, two systems” framework that China sought to apply to Taiwan, as the island enjoys de facto independence from China.

Meanwhile, fresh efforts are being made by Taiwan’s representative offices in the West to promote the island, counter Beijing’s propaganda and stop the poaching of allies and sympathizers.

UN member nations that still maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan will continue to present motions to allow Taiwanese representatives to attend UN meetings, according to the Central News Agency.

Taiwan is also said to be mulling launching a Voice of America-like free-to-air English-language news service in North America and Europe as a response to Beijing’s growing ideological posturing.

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