Taiwan tycoon pledges $100m to defend island from ‘evil’ China

·3-min read
China military drill Taiwan
China military drill Taiwan

A Taiwanese microchip tycoon has pledged $100m (£82m) towards his country’s defences and urged citizens to stand up to the “evil” Chinese Communist Party.

In a spirited press conference, Robert Tsao said he was donating the money to Taiwan’s defence department to help safeguard “freedom, democracy, and human rights”.

The 75-year-old urged people to “stand up and fight” rather than give way to “unification with a gang of outlaws”.

His comments came hours after China sent ballistic missiles streaking over the Taiwanese mainland, including the capital Taipea, while fighter jets buzzed the island’s defences.

Beijing’s “unprecedented” show of force, which also includes four days of military exercises ending on Sunday, is meant as a punishment after Taiwan hosted a visit from Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the US House of Representatives, earlier this week.

Mr Tsao said the displays of military might showed why Taiwanese voters should not support parties that backed unification with China in upcoming local elections.

He is the founder of United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC), one of the world’s biggest chip makers and Taiwan’s second largest behind Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC).

Mr Tsao urged his fellow citizens to “see through the evil nature of the Chinese Communist Party”, according to Taiwan News.

He said: “The nature of the CCP is rogues acting against the rule of law, and this was manifested by their endless power struggles since 1927, the Cultural Revolution in the 1970s, and persecutions against various groups today.”

He also accused Beijing of “acting so despotically towards Taiwan”, adding: “Perhaps they think Taiwanese people all fear death and covet money?”

The tycoon is one of several business figures to speak up for the island in recent months.

His two sons hold Taiwan citizenship and he has previously revealed that one of them has completed military training while the other is to be trained in the summer.

He said they would both fight if China’s military launches an invasion.

Separately, the boss of TSMC said this week that no one could control the company’s chip foundries “by force”, suggesting that the facilities could be remotely switched off or rendered useless to any occupiers.

Mark Liu, chairman of TSMC, said: “If you take a military force or invasion, you will render the TSMC factory non-operable, because it is such a sophisticated manufacturing facility.”

Responding to recent Chinese military displays, Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen has insisted the island will firmly defend its sovereignty.

“We are calm and not impetuous, we are rational and not provocative, but we will also be firm and not shirk,” she said.

Mr Tsao claimed there was little need to speculate over whether China would ultimately use force to take Taiwan.

“They definitely will, but strength is not enough," he told journalists, arguing that the communist leadership in Beijing were "hooligans" who "only believe in violence”.

He pointed to the recent crackdown in Hong Kong and said China had betrayed its promise to allow the former British territory to retain some freedoms under the "One China, Two Systems" policy.

And he predicted that Taiwanese businesspeople would begin to abandon China after years of previous investment.

"I believe all of them will leave, one after the other, because China’s economic prosperity has already passed and domestic troubles will increase going forward, the economy will stop growing, problems with loans will continue to explode, plus locking down cities will cause the economy to decline. Taiwanese businesspeople should leave China’s cities.”