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五星旗下的狂熱者──從反共到紅統的愛國同心會
攝影
77歲的周慶峻把車開到了總統府南面的貴陽路上,正要左轉,遇到紅燈,便停了下來。這時,他突然搖下窗,轉頭對著在總統府東南角職守的憲兵喊了一句:「什麼時候把蔡英文幹掉啊?!」
憲兵轉過頭,發現聲音來自車內這位「抗議常客」,便沒多搭理。
周慶峻開的是一輛專門漆成大紅色的車,車身上寫著「中華愛國同心會」幾個字。他瞥了一眼駕駛台上的播放器,按下啟動鍵,車頂上加裝的兩個大喇叭響了起來,傳出雄壯的歌聲。
「沒有共產黨就沒有新中國⋯⋯」歌曲頓時響徹台灣總統府旁的街道。周慶峻和車裡的同伴講:「共產黨來了,不會忘記你!」但因為他的台灣國語帶著廣東口音,聽起來卻像是在說,「共產黨來了,也不會幫你」。
車子到達凱達格蘭大道,找了個地方迴旋。馬路對面,員警招手讓他們過來,同心會的另一輛紅車也已經停在路邊,顏色更鮮紅的那輛新車,一直沒有熄火,聲嘶力竭地播著紅歌。
那一天上午10點多,凱道的一角已經聚集了將近20個中華愛國同心會的成員和支持者。一時間到處都是五星旗和鐮刀、錘子組合成的中共黨旗。
突兀的景象偶爾引來路人圍觀、拍照。

來者何人?

周慶峻一身鮮豔的大紅色外套和紅領帶,上顎的小鬍子相當突出。他是廣東汕尾人,1943年出生,1962年移居香港,1982年與台灣籍太太遷居來台,趁著台灣早年寬鬆的法令,一年後取得台灣國籍。
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中華愛國同心會會長周慶峻在台北101前揮舞五星旗。(攝影/余志偉)
中華愛國同心會會長周慶峻在台北101前揮舞五星旗。(攝影/余志偉)
1993年,中華愛國同心會成立,始終由周慶峻擔任會長。據周慶峻所說,同心會成立之初,邀請到了前總統馬英九的父親馬鶴凌擔任名譽會長。不過,《報導者》調閱內政部民政司所保存該組織成立時的「職員名冊」、「中央委員名冊」、「評議監察委員」等資料中,均未發現馬鶴凌的名字。
成立的頭20年,愛國同心會並不是一個受到關注的組織。但從2014年10月開始,他們每個月都會在總統府前、西門町、台北101大樓舉五星旗,也開始引起越來越多人的注意。
七旬的周慶峻身邊成員,也是一群與之年紀相仿的老人們。
副會長李有明身形高瘦,看不出已89歲。他是江蘇鹽城人,國共內戰時期,隨國軍參加過1949年的上海保衛戰,撤退至金門後,又在胡璉麾下打過古寧頭戰役。他說以前被洗腦要反共,左邊小腿上還有解放軍子彈留下的槍傷,但看到台灣現在這樣,早就不恨共產黨了,反而期待和大陸統一。
翻開民政司檔案,全國性政治團體「中華愛國同心會」在1993年成立,手寫字跡上寫著申請緣由:「堅決擁護中華民國,反對分裂國土,反對共產主義」。同心會的車身也是紅色的,車身印著中華愛國同心會的網頁地址:www.iloveroc.org.tw,意為「我愛中華民國」。但實際上這個網址已停用多時,目前網路上可以找到的同心會地址則是www.ilovchina.org,意為「我愛中國」。
從「堅決擁護中華民國」到「愛中國」,25年來有很大的轉變。這個組織裡,國軍和解放軍的老兵們,竟相處融洽。
76歲的同心會「執行長
同心會章程中有對於會長、副會長、祕書長等職務的規定,但並未明確執行長這一職務的設置,蕭勤自己也說「這個執行長就是會長封的」。被記者問及同心會內的分工,他們大多稱,因為人數比較少,並不特別分工,有事情就大家一起幹。
」 蕭勤是山東人,幹過20年的解放軍。在澳門待了將近3年,他1995年來到了台灣,一年後以港澳華僑的身分拿到了台灣護照。採訪時,有同心會成員私下調侃說,國民黨真的不行,老蕭這樣的人都識別不出來,還讓他入了籍。蕭勤一臉嚴肅地反駁:「我所有手續都是合法的。」
50歲出頭的同心會祕書長張秀葉是最年富力強的核心成員,1992年從上海嫁到台灣,已與丈夫離異,在同心會工作了十幾年。她說,參加同心會活動的相當部分是大陸配偶,「其中不少人在台灣做看護工作,工作時間比較靈活,有空就會過來參加活動。」
與上述已歸化的人不同,呂欣尚是外省第二代,64歲的他常戴著一副黑框眼鏡,面容斯文。他的名片上寫著「台灣人民共產黨
台灣人民共產黨於2016年成立,總部在台南,該黨的總理(黨魁)林德旺是一名在雲南等地做生意、娶了中國籍太太的台商。
副祕書長」(編按:在內政部註冊的337個政黨(含已註銷)中,共有5個名稱中含「共產」的政黨,分別是:台灣共產黨、中華民國共產黨、中國共產聯盟、台灣民主共產黨和台灣人民共產黨(註)
此外,中華統一促進黨、中國生產黨 、勞動黨、中國統一聯盟等政黨和政治團體,也被認為是「紅統」組織,即主張在中共的「社會主義」、「一國兩制」框架下實現兩岸統一;在較為主流的政黨中,新黨被認為是理念上與這些「紅統」組織最為接近的一個。
前身為2010年成立的中華生產黨,後由於該黨主席、中國配偶盧月香被檢舉設籍不滿10年,未達到《台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例》中所規定的「組織政黨」之條件,該黨被撤銷備案。2014年,改由盧月香的丈夫施精健組織成立「中國生產黨」。
)。
在呂欣尚看來,同心會和台灣人民共產黨是最「紅」的兩個組織
有同心會的核心成員認為,在這些組織中,中國國台辦最重視的前三位依次是新黨、統促黨和同心會。
,因為它們只打五星旗;而媒體曝光度更高、聲勢更大、由「白狼」張安樂創立的統促黨,除了舉五星旗,也舉青天白日旗。今年1月,呂欣尚收到周慶峻的邀請,他決定北上,一起在同心會幫忙。
在角落裡一直低頭默默做事的羅秀美,60出頭,道道地地的台灣人,她說,「和會長是3、40年的朋友」,「認同同心會的理念,不認同現在這個執政的人(蔡英文)」,言語中常流露出對中國的各種欣羨。
周慶峻介紹說,同心會現共有會員200餘人,參加活動較頻繁的有100人左右,以外省人和中國新住民居多,也有少數本省人。
經過數個月對他們的近距離觀察,記者發現,來參加這些活動的成員幾乎都是中老年人,絕大部分人在社會地位和經濟收入上較為邊緣,從事過的工作多為司機、停車管理員、看護工等,很多人已經退休了。成員說會員裡也有年輕人,「但他們要上班,有空時才能來參加活動」。
在活動現場,同心會成員忙個不停,早就在那裡等候的員警也沒閒著。員警們隔出了活動區域,然後給臨時隔離欄綁上青天白日滿地紅旗(註1)
這種令人啼笑皆非的場景,第一次發生在2018年1月17日。 那天下午,蔡英文在民進黨中央黨部主持中常會,同心會的抗議者們在對面的華山大草原插遍了五星旗。警方覺得場面尷尬,臨時找來了數面青天白日滿地紅旗插在路邊。於是,這種維持平衡的做法也「傳」到了凱道。
。頓時,凱道現場被兩岸的國旗裝扮得好像正在舉行一場「國共會談」。

不屑民主

採訪周慶峻時,他說愛國同心會第一次在凱道打出五星旗,其實早在2005年10月1日,原因是前一個月的「908台灣國運動
一個追求台灣「正名制憲」的運動,召集人為王獻極,口號是「生態台灣,海洋國家,日不落國」。2005年9月8日,該運動成員在總統府前舉辦升旗典禮,升起運動旗。
」 中,總統府前升起了上藍下綠、中間部分是白底加上紅色大太陽的「台灣國運動旗幟」,同心會遂在同一地點升起五星紅旗「反制」,並慶祝中華人民共和國成立56週年。但此後幾年,他們並沒有太大的動作。
2012年,習近平上台之後,一系列錯綜複雜的變化,開始體現在像同心會這樣的「紅統」組織。
《報導者》記者向內政部民政司調閱到20份與同心會相關的文件檔案,其中顯示在2013年,「中華愛國同心會組織章程」裡闡述其宗旨與任務的第二款,悄悄地由「堅決擁護中華民國、反對分裂國土、反對共產主義」改為「堅決維護中華民族共同利益、堅決反對分裂國土」。
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《報導者》記者向內政部民政司調閱到20份與同心會相關的文件檔案。(攝影/李雪莉)
《報導者》記者向內政部民政司調閱到20份與同心會相關的文件檔案。(攝影/李雪莉)
2014年10月開始,同心會定期每月在總統府前舉辦一次活動,高舉五星旗,抗議台獨,宣傳「一國兩制、統一中國」。2015年下半年開始,他們也在西門町插旗,每月舉辦同樣性質的活動。記者多次在現場觀察,此類活動通常每次能聚集起4、50位參與者。
「中國加油!」在抗議活動現場,周慶峻常舉著兩面五星旗,一邊揮舞,一邊用帶著廣東口音的台灣國語喊道。
周慶峻說,之所以從2014年10月開始舉辦這樣的活動,是因為前一個月
2014年9月26日,習近平會見了由新黨主席郁慕明、新同盟會會長許歷農率領的「台灣和平統一團體聯合參訪團」,其成員還包括中國統一聯盟、勞動黨、兩岸統合學會、夏潮聯合會、台灣地區政治受難人互助會等20餘黨派和團體的代表,周慶峻也在其中。
,他在北京見到了習近平。對於這個會面,他的心情是:「當然有(受到激勵),就是因為見到了總書記,所以我們在2014年10月22號開始(定期)在總統府前升五星旗。」
「我們都是在拼命,」年邁的他憧憬著說:「等哪天國家統一了,我就退休。」
張秀葉則透露,太陽花運動之後,馬英九政府支持度低迷,擔心民進黨上台後申請舉辦抗議活動無法獲批,索性定期舉辦形成慣例。
一名同心會核心成員也私下表示,原來中共投向台灣的資源,幾乎都被國民黨所壟斷,近幾年則越來越注意到了小黨和政治團體。
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愛國同心會祕書長張秀葉。(攝影/余志偉)
愛國同心會祕書長張秀葉。(攝影/余志偉)
中央研究院社會學研究所副研究員吳介民曾在其主編的《吊燈裡的巨蟒》 一書中寫道:「經過太陽花佔領石破天驚的一幕,國共合作遭到破解,致使國民黨選舉大敗,一般人普遍認識到中國因素的存在。但北京如何培養在地協力者,⋯⋯何時下手施壓,卻仍在黑箱之中。」(註2)
吳介民、蔡政宏、鄭祖邦(2017)。〈讀懂「巨蟒」發出的訊號〉,《吊燈裡的巨蟒》,p.17。新北市:左岸。
北京究竟怎麼培養在地協力者?吳介民在接受《報導者》訪問時強調:「中國因素在台灣運作已經十多年,最重要的模式就是中國政府利用兩岸經貿關係搭建跨海峽政商關係,利用在台灣培育的『在地協力者』來幫助推動北京對台灣的政治議程,最終兼併台灣、吸納主權。」
而從同心會成員的特性來看,吳介民認為:「不同於一般從商業利益去迎合中國威權發展模式的工商界,這些人體現著『前現代』血緣身分認同特質,他們具有強烈的中華國族認同,與現代型的公民民族主義構成對比。」這些人之中,不少具有「從中國到港澳到台灣」的路徑背景,這也與北京近年來在香港培育的在地協力網絡(最醒目的就是「愛字頭團體」)相似;而這些團體在協助中共抵制香港民主運動上不遺餘力。
這些中共外圍統戰團體進入台灣社會,對在地組織的直接動員力度有多廣多強,或許沒有人能掌握全貌,但「統戰」的舉措,的確較以往更加扎根,卻也引發了很多台灣人的反感。
2017年10月,曾有民眾在國家發展委員會「公共政策網路參與平台」的連署提案中,要求在台灣應禁掛五星旗,後被法務部正式否決,原因是「與憲法保障人民言論自由之意旨不符」。
台灣的言論自由,保障了同心會成員高舉一個敵對政權國旗的權利,但他們仍然對台灣的民主不以為然。
「台灣是民主,但有什麼用?看看台灣的經濟,20年來停滯不前。我來的時候,台灣確實要比上海好,可是現在,台北比上海差遠了。」張秀葉的話,代表了這個群體中大部分人的意見。相比看不見摸不著的民主自由,他們更在乎的是一個強大的祖國,看到中國經濟快速發展,更使他們對「中國模式」和兩岸統一心生嚮往。
「你看,人家(大陸)的產品也是很好的,」63歲的外省人二代張魯臺,掏出了自己的小米手機擺弄了一番。在他看來,「民主是假的,真正的是實力啦。」
來自四川的陸配袁煥珍,曾經在吳敦義2017年競選國民黨主席的一次活動上對他說:「吳先生,希望你當選黨主席後,沿著孫中山一個中國的原則走下去。」
當時吳敦義這麼回答,「對,要中華民國來統一中國。」但她對這位前副總統的回答嗤之以鼻:「中國世界數一數二的國家了,怎麼會讓你台灣中華民國來統一中國呢?所以他還是台獨。」
不過他們也不至於徹底否定台灣的一切。「這個地方好就好在這裡,沒有貴賤,」說起自己分到的國宅,蕭勤說,「就排隊,到了時間,分到你就是你。」
面對紅統組織生活在民主台灣,卻宣傳反民主的價值,吳介民從公民社會的理論角度分析:「這是『偽公民社會 』(fake civil society)。偽公民社會從頭就不認同台灣作為一個政治共同體,卻在使用台灣的民主公共財。」

「中國因素」加深中

「你的個子和小周差不多嘛。」蕭勤所說的「小周」,全名叫周泓旭,來自遼寧,2016年畢業於政治大學,2017年3月被捕,是台灣首宗「陸生共諜案」的主角。
蕭勤幾次講起,周泓旭曾常來同心會參加活動,「王炳忠以前也來參加過我們的活動。」而周泓旭「後來和新黨也有接觸,但可能太頻繁了,就吃了這樣的冤枉官司,」他評論。
對於周泓旭案,同心會成員堅持認為判決不公。而從台灣視角來看,在兩岸關係走低的同時,「中國因素」的影響持續擴大,過去30年來沒有戒心的台灣,開始注意中國可能的滲透。
民進黨立委王定宇、何欣純、林俊憲、邱議瑩及國民黨立委許淑華等曾先後提出《組織犯罪防治條例》修正案,試圖將第二條所規定組織犯罪要件由「持續性及牟利性」改為了「持續性或牟利性」,2018年1月3日正式公布。從立法背景來看,多少是針對統促黨、愛國同心會而來。
同心會成員認為,除了修法,內政部還常派人來查帳,正是對他們的故意為難。遇到查帳者,蕭勤會很不客氣地斥責對方:「現在你們有權,就來清算我們。哪天我有權了,也會來清算你們。」
但他們所說的查帳,不見得就是主管部門的刻意刁難。比如,同心會在2017年申報的年度決算報告書中,列出了56萬元的「政治獻金收入」。而根據《政治獻金法》規定
《政治獻金法》第4條規定:受理政治獻金申報之機關為監察院。第10條規定:政黨、政治團體及擬參選人應於金融機構開立專戶,並載明金融機構名稱、地址、帳號及戶名,報受理申報機關許可後,始得收受政治獻金;受理申報機關應於許可後立即公告。
,政治團體應向監察院申報,獲得許可後方得收受政治獻金 ,但同心會從未申報過政治獻金專戶。民政司於2017年9月6日去函,要求其對此進行說明,並依例送報監察院。
對此,同心會稱這筆「政治獻金」實為會長周慶峻的個人捐款,將之改列為「特別會費」中,並在9月28日的回函中稱:「本會同人支持民族復興、支持國家統,反對分裂國土、反對台獨立場堅定,不論藍、綠、紅都不會有所動搖。若任何人因我們反對台獨而欲加罪於我,勢必在一二年內得到報應。我們懇切呼籲公務員在政局即將變換之至應該嚴守中立⋯⋯」(註3)
此為回函原文,為呈現原貌,在此編輯不做任何修正。
。言下之意是覺得自己受到了民進黨政府的政治迫害。
依據《兩岸人民關係條例》規定,非經許可,台灣地區團體不得與中國黨政軍機構進行任何形式之合作。但同心會成員並不諱言自己與中國國台辦等各級機構之間的聯繫。蕭勤曾幾次講起,自己和前國台辦副主任龔清概
在蔡英文當選總統後3天,龔清概因受賄落馬,後被判處有期徒刑15年。
同桌吃飯的事情。
蕭勤也曾寫過一些如何促進兩岸統一的建議,交給各級台辦的官員,其中一位官員熱情回應說:「交給組織你放心。」但蕭勤也承認,這些建言交給「組織」之後,便石沉大海,很多中國官員「高不可攀,完全沒法對話」。
這幾年來,台辦系統越來越重視台灣的在地組織,對此同心會成員都深有感受,有內部核心成員甚至嚴肅地向記者說起:「其實我們更希望的是那邊(台辦)的骨幹能過來上課,就像以前的『地下黨』那樣。」
有趣的是,一些同心會成員會把自己的生活描述成一幕諜影重重的大戲,比如理所當然地認為,自己的電話一定受到了政府的監控,自己一定在台灣政府的「黑名單」上。
呂欣尚曾經說起:「老蕭從來不用微信等軟體,和我都只是電話聯繫,看起來是受過專業訓練,我感覺他應該是帶著任務來的。」但蕭勤在解放軍的經歷只是衛生科主任和搞共青團工作,並非特工,來台灣後做的工作也僅是點心師等。
還有一次,在西門町附近的一家小店吃午飯,呂欣尚突然感慨了一句:「做我們這種事情的人,還是在小巷子、小店比較好。」

「紅統」的光譜與矛盾

西門町附近的西寧南路201號,二到五樓都是同心會的地方。二樓是主要的辦公室,牆上的鏡框裡並排掛著孫中山和習近平的照片,上面還印著8個字「完成國父統一使命」。
據稱,同心會每個月開支需要十幾萬元,多半由周慶峻承擔 。
「中華愛國同心會」的官方網站上,介紹「周慶峻赴台定居後即與張偉光、許承宗等老國代、老立委合作在台灣成立『反共愛國陣線
民政司相關資料顯示,該組織成立於1990年,現處於「失聯」狀態,已停止實際運作。
』 ,1993年11月12日周慶峻離開反共愛國陣綫,成立中華愛國同心會迄今」。
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愛國同心會辦公室。(攝影/余志偉)
愛國同心會辦公室。(攝影/余志偉)
但除了周慶峻外,如今較為活躍的會員,都是之後陸續加入同心會的,因而其25年前的面貌,已經在以訛傳訛中漸漸失真。
現任副會長李有明一直誤以為:「同心會最早是馬英九的父親馬鶴凌創辦的,之後轉交給了許承宗,和《疾風》
《疾風》是戒嚴時期國民黨右派(中國通常定義其為極右派)的一本政論月刊。擔任過蔣經國的英文秘書的許承宗,曾是「疾風雜誌社」的成員,之後擔任「反共愛國陣線」的領導人。
很有淵源。」
可是,周慶峻堅決地向記者表示,同心會從未有過「反共」的歷史。但民政司所保存的資料已經證實,這並非實言。蕭勤也幾次說起:「同心會最初是反共的,會長當年游泳逃出廣東,原來也是反共的,後來看到大陸的發展,轉變過來了,所以我要督促他繼續下去。」
同心會與統促黨之間的關係,同樣是一個三言兩語難以講清楚的問題。在很多台灣人的印象中,這兩個組織立場相似,步調相近,甚至常有人把兩者搞混。在舊版的「中華愛國同心會」網站的網頁快照上,就出現「中華統一促進黨」的連結。張秀葉也講起,目前代表統促黨參選台北市議員的李承龍,和同心會的關係十分密切,也曾經常參與他們的活動。但周慶峻卻表示,同心會和統促黨,至多只是理念互相認同,但彼此之間沒有什麼關聯,「我們做我們的,他們做他們的。」
統促黨目前下轄數十個黨部,其中一個黨部的主委透露了同為「紅統」組織的統促黨與同心會之間的糾葛。據他回憶,2013年左右,同心會想每個月在凱道和西門町辦一個講座活動,曾向剛從中國回來的張安樂提出,希望統促黨每次能派20人參加。「張總裁雖然沒有派人,但答應每個月提供1萬元經濟支持。」
可是,在2014年4月,統促黨主辦的一次反對太陽花運動的活動上,同心會開著他們的車來支持,車原本停在前面,突然又動了起來,也許是好心想給統促黨的車開道,結果被認為是想要搶風頭、鬧場。兩個「紅統」組織發生內訌,當場鬧翻。
儘管統促黨和同心會之間已分道揚鑣,但這個主委說:「看到同心會都是老弱婦孺,有點擔心他們的安全,所以從前年年底開始,我也會帶幾個人去聲援他們每個月在西門町的活動。」但因為屢屢受到獨派攻擊,發生了衝突,這位黨部主委也惹上了官司,所以最近沒有組織聲援活動。

愛與麵包

同心會在凱道抗議的日子裡,偶爾有人會向周慶峻搭訕。4月,一位與會的老先生拉著周慶峻談話,似乎在抱怨自己遇到的狀況,反映後卻未得到解決。最後,周慶峻對他講:「處理不好,等共產黨來了,我幫你處理!」之後,這位老人舉起五星旗在總統府前揮舞,周慶峻找了一位會員幫這位老人拍照。
看到五星旗飄揚,頻繁拍照的不只參與者和路人,有時周慶峻自己也會走到遠處,用手機拍攝幾張活動現場紅色海洋的畫面。
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愛國同心會插上五星旗的紅色貨車在台北市宣傳政治理念。(攝影/余志偉)
愛國同心會插上五星旗的紅色貨車在台北市宣傳政治理念。(攝影/余志偉)
「會長不在台灣的時候,每天都會提醒,活動一定要拍照片。」呂欣尚說這話的時候是4月初。
拍照究竟有什麼用處?對此,受訪者大多語焉不詳。蕭勤回答得相對清楚:「可以告訴台辦,他們搞了很多活動。」
蕭勤直言不諱,「我希望自己在同心會做一些可以在台灣扎根的事情,但有一些紅統組織,就只是拍拍照片,不做實事。」有一次,蕭勤甚至有點動了肝火,怒斥原中華生產黨主席盧月香
2013年《南方週末》曾刊發報導,介紹1991年嫁到台灣的大陸新娘盧月香如何建黨,其中「以毛澤東思想教育全黨,並形成『盧主席思想』」、「我想讓台灣的『立法委員』、將軍也來跪毛主席」等內容曾引發議論
,指責她在老家福建撈了很多好處,卻不好好在台灣「做工作」。
紅統政黨是意識型態和理念的聚合,還是有實質利益的支持?
被問及這個問題時,一位持續參加同心會活動的人提出他的懷疑:「我是沒有收過他們(同心會)的錢,但有些事情我看得懂——有些人參與活動是有代價的。」
該人士還說:「我參加過這樣一種活動,去拿標語、喊口號,前前後後十幾分鐘,就1,200塊台幣到手了。這種一共有(參加過)兩次,另一次是(前海協會副會長)張銘清
2006~2013年任海協會副會長。
來台灣,他走的時候,XX黨(某紅統組織)就發動成員去歡送,事實上就是要個畫面(給中國政府和媒體使用),顯示台灣人多歡迎他。」
記者詢問了多位每個月甚至每個工作日堅持參加活動高舉五星旗的人,他們都表示自己是義務參與,言語、表情十分真誠。也有人說,這些人「覺悟高」是因為不少在來台灣之前,本來就是中共黨員。
張秀葉坦承,自己因為是專職工作,所以有薪水,其他人在同心會都沒有收入。周慶峻則說:「大家都是義務的,最多偶爾有一些車馬費。」
在周慶峻的名片上,印著「中華愛國同心會 會長」等5個頭銜,最後一個是「湖北同心聯發農業綜合開發有限公司 首席顧問」。第一次被問及這是否他在中國投資的公司時,周慶峻遲疑片刻後回答「是」,並補充說,同心會的開支主要由自己承擔:「不在大陸投資,我哪有錢?」
中國的工商登記資料顯示,2011年周慶峻與妻子林明美註冊成立了湖北同心聯發農業綜合開發有限公司,註冊資金210萬人民幣。
起初,這家公司在湖北宜昌下屬的當陽市從事漁業養殖和林業開發。官方色彩很強的「中國台灣網」
「中國台灣網(ChinaTaiwan)」是中國國務院台灣事務辦公室所管理的國家重點新聞網站,創建於1999年7月。
在2010年的一則報導稱,周慶峻在承包的100多畝水域養殖台灣金花鯛魚,計畫投資5,000萬人民幣。該稿件作者署名為「中國台灣網當陽市台辦通訊員」。此外,「華夏經緯網」
「華夏經緯網」是由華夏經緯資訊科技有限公司所屬華夏經緯網絡資訊中心開設的專題涉台網站,2001年4月29日在北京正式開通,2006年,被列入中國「十一五」規劃互聯網新聞事業發展重點工程。
的報導顯示,周慶峻曾在當陽投資經營山地1,000多畝。
次年6月,「中國台灣網」一篇名為〈湖北台商周慶峻:「我在大陸發展更有信心了」〉的報導則稱,這家公司2011年初被納入了政府補助範圍。他的魚塘出現疫情時,市台辦主任幫忙請來了專家解決;遇到成魚滯銷,省台辦主任「親自為該公司聯繫銷售渠道」。變壓器電壓不足,導致養魚需要的增氧機不能正常使用時,當地供電公司立即斥資20.5萬人民幣,在兩天時間裡,升級改造了通往漁場的供電設施。
儘管受到當地政府扶植,周慶峻在湖北的生意仍「慘淡經營,不久後停止營業」。但在今年4月中旬,湖北省宜昌市台辦的官方網站刊出了這樣一則消息,原來周慶峻當年在當陽購買的房產,由於地段和土地性質的原因,長期閒置無人問津。當陽市台辦多次實地走訪,「闡明了妥善處置台商合法財產,保障台商合法權益的重要意義」,最終說服當地一家公司出面收購了該處房產。
對於這些報導的內容,周慶峻笑稱「沒有的」。但他曾向記者表示,台辦把這些東西都寫出來發在網上「真的不好」(註4)
按照中國常規的媒體操作方法,此類稿件通常是由各級台辦撰寫,除了自己發佈之外,也向新聞網站供稿。
,又說自己不太懂網路,不知道哪裡可以看到這些,希望記者將連結發給他,以便決定是否需要和台辦溝通將這些稿件撤掉。同時,他強調:「我們不能拿(中國)政府的錢,那是違反台灣法律的。」
對於周慶峻早前在湖北當陽的投資,在同心會和他合作最為密切的張秀葉則承認「確有其事」,但「投資5,000萬人民幣」誇大了,實際投資也就「1,000多萬台幣」,受到當地各級政府幫助是因為剛去投資的時候,那裡連電也沒有,天氣寒冷、魚也長得不好,虧了不少錢。至於那處房產,則是「當時不清楚土地性質,花了30多萬人民幣加蓋了二樓,最後10萬(人民幣)就賣掉了。」
目前,周慶峻的投資項目主要在廣東珠海。他曾在記者面前說起,自己打算在珠海開一個老人院,但馬上補充:「不過不是為了賺錢喔。」
去年「華夏經緯網」的報導曾提到,周慶峻在珠海市南水鎮南郊村投資了150畝的農業種植基地。記者曾致電該村經濟聯社
經濟聯社即「集體經濟聯合社」,是中國城鎮和農村的集體經濟組織,在鄉(鎮)、村共產黨組織的領導下,享有獨立進行經濟活動的自主權,接受各級政府、村民委員會的監督。
求證,對方只透露現在和周慶峻之間已無合作關係。
李有明曾講起,周慶峻在珠海的養殖魚塘有25甲。張秀葉說,她知道的數字是100多畝,但是魚塘都要自己挖出來,很辛苦,「那裡的投資確實是賺錢的,賺的錢可以補貼一下同心會的花銷。」而周慶峻本人向記者透露的準確數字則是300多畝。他不否認自己「在珠海的魚塘很大」,但「都是向老百姓租的」,不是政府給的。
同心會核心成員對周慶峻在中國的投資都有所了解,但並不以為意。「做生意就是要賺錢嘛,」蕭勤說,「受到照顧也是應該啊,(因為)我們站在它(中國政府)一邊。」

隔壁有個法輪功

每週一到週五下午3點到5點多,同心會都會在台北101大樓前宣傳「紅統」,少則6、7人,多的時候甚至會有十幾個,遠處就能看到大片的五星旗,幾乎成了台北獨樹一幟的「景觀」。
6年來,蕭勤戴著軍帽,扛著五星旗,在此高唱自己改編的〈歌唱祖國〉,還會來上一段類似數來寶的表演:「大陸好,萬眾一心拼經濟,再不用那布票、糧票、食品票,現在只要毛主席的大鈔票。」說到「大鈔票」時候,他常會略誇張地抬起大腿,一隻手在褲子口袋上用力拍一下,場面像是街頭藝人在表演。
台北101大樓門口不時有旅遊大巴停下,蕭勤通常會主動湊過去。大巴車上下來的很大比例是中國遊客。不少人爭著與他合影,為他拍手,甚至接過他手中的五星旗,在台灣第一高樓前留影。
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愛國同心會支持者在台北101前向遊覽車揮舞五星旗。(攝影/余志偉)
愛國同心會支持者在台北101前向遊覽車揮舞五星旗。(攝影/余志偉)
記者曾問周慶峻,宣傳統一難道不應該以面向台灣人為主嗎?他回答說,長期駐守台北101,主要是為了「避免大陸遊客被壞人拉走」。因為,法輪功學員在此「設攤」已經有至少10年時間。親共的和反共的混雜在一起,分別拉出自己的旗幟和海報,爭相向遊客宣傳各自的理念。
記者幾次目睹他們之間發生的摩擦,互相指責對方撞到自己,還要找員警理論。法輪功學員邱女士、吳女士說:「同心會就是共產黨派了搞破壞的。」雖然自稱「調查過」,卻也拿不出什麼證據,但她們認定:「同心會每年去大陸開會,都會拿共產黨的錢。」
每個工作日的下午3點後,台北101樓下都會有員警架著兩台攝影機,拍攝現場的狀況,通常還比五星旗到得早。同心會的人對員警天天來拍攝頗為不滿,認為是對他們的監控。一名員警則皺著眉頭道,這是因為經常會有衝突,「感覺很無奈。」
在網路上可以找到幾十份周慶峻、張秀葉、蕭勤等人和中華愛國同心會被起訴或控告他人的判決書,很多案件中的另一方都與法輪功有關,案由包括違反社會秩序維護法、傷害、損害賠償、妨害名譽、妨害自由等,勝訴、敗訴的都有,均發生在2013年之後。在兩起較為嚴重的刑事案件中,蕭勤均被判罰拘役55天。
但許多案情卻讓人啼笑皆非,比如罵對方「我看妳就是個狐狸精」,又或是「基於傷害之犯意,趁隙以右腳踢擊XXX(法輪功成員)右腳大腿內側一下」。法輪功學員說:「同心會的人很無禮,經常罵我們不要臉、賣弄風騷之類的話,有時候還會動粗,但我們從來不跟他們動手,所以我們的人從來沒有被罰。」
同心會成員則始終覺得,法輪功明顯受到了警方的偏袒。雖然被詬病為「惹事生非」,但他們堅持認為,宣傳統一即便手段有點過激也沒有錯,並斥責台灣法院的判決不公。
有趣的是,因為常年在台北101門前「鬥爭」,同心會和法輪功成員也互相熟識,除了互嗆之外,有時彼此之間也會閒聊幾句。有一次,蕭勤剛好站在一堆法輪功的宣傳品前,看到一張紙片飛出,落在地上,他俯身拾了起來,遲疑片刻後,把那張宣傳紙塞回了原處。

紅統戲碼再換幕

去年新修訂的《政黨法》規定
《政黨法》43條規定,在其施行前已依人民團體法立案之政治團體,應於此法施行(2017年12月6日)後二年內依本法規定修正章程轉換為政黨。
,政治團體得在2年內轉換為政黨,若連續4年未依法推薦候選人參選,將可廢止其備案。
對於一個與民政司的大部分文件往來至今仍然靠手寫的政治團體,25歲的中華愛國同心會想轉型。今年11月的台北市議員選舉,參選人多如雨後春筍,競爭十分激烈。周慶峻說競選一事啟動已久,也想推出自家候選人。
雖然底氣不足,承認參選只是被「逼上梁山」,但張秀葉回答:「我們是走『紅統』這條路,要看台灣人認同不認同,我們也是去試試看。」
習近平上台後,北京透過訴諸血緣文化的連帶建立協力者網絡,讓愛國同心會等紅統組織更加活躍。儘管這些紅統組織在台灣民意中並不具有代表性,但在可見的未來,在台灣民主的土地上,插五星旗和唱紅歌的戲碼會持續上演,而紅統組織的競合也不會有謝幕的一天。
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愛國同心會副會長李有明拿著五星旗經過習近平照片。(攝影/余志偉)
愛國同心會副會長李有明拿著五星旗經過習近平照片。(攝影/余志偉)
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They Used To Be Anti-Communist, But Now They Play To Beijing's Tune

77-year old Zhou Qingjun (周慶峻) drives his car to Guiyang Street, just south of the Presidential Office Building. As he's about to turn left, he hits a red light and stops at the intersection. Suddenly, he rolls down his window, turns around, and yells to the military police guarding the Southeastern corner of the Presidential Office Building.
“When can we get rid of Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文)?”
The military police turns his head but remains silent. Just another protester, he thinks.
Zhou's car, painted in glaring red with the sign “Concentric Patriotism Association”, soon starts blaring out grandiose music from the two large speakers installed on top of the car. “Without the Communist Party, there would be no New China…” The song instantly fills the streets surrounding the Presidential Office Building.
Zhou tells his peers in the car: “When the Communist Party comes, they won't forget you!” But Zhou’s thick Cantonese accent makes it sound like “When the Communist Party comes, they will not help you!”
Their day starts at 10am, where almost 20 members and supporters of the Concentric Patriotism Alliance—a pro-Chinese Communist Party organization that supports the immediate unification of China and Taiwan—have gathered at the corner of Ketagalan Boulevard.
Suddenly, the intersection is full of Communist Party flags with their hammers and sickles, as well as five-star red flags—the official canton of the People's Republic of China. The scene occasionally attracts onlookers to gawk or take photos.

Who is this guy?

Zhou wears a bright red jacket, a red tie, with a moustache on his upper lip. Born in 1943 in Shanwei, Guangdong province, he moved to Hong Kong in 1962, and immigrated to his wife's homeland of Taiwan in 1982. Having benefited from lenient immigration laws in Taiwan’s early years, he obtained Taiwanese citizenship just one year later.
The Concentric Patriotism Association (also referred to as the Concentric Patriotism Alliance or the Chinese Patriot Alliance Association) was established with Zhou as its founding (and only) president.
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Concentric Patriotism Association President Zhou Qingjun demonstrating in front of Taipei 101. (Yu Chih-wei/The Reporter.)
Concentric Patriotism Association President Zhou Qingjun demonstrating in front of Taipei 101. (Yu Chih-wei/The Reporter.)
For the past two decades, the Alliance remained an obscure organization. That all changed in October 2014, when the Alliance started raising five-star red flags—the flag of the People's Republic of China, a rare sight in democratic Taiwan—in front of a number of famous Taipei landmarks, including the Presidential Office Building, Ximending and Taipei 101.
But it's not just the PRC flags that makes this group so conspicuous. Zhou is already in his 70s, and the rest of the Alliance is similarly grey-haired.
Association Vice-president Li You-ming (李有明) is 89 years old, but still spry for his age. Tall and skinny, Li hails from Yancheng, Jiangsu Province.
During the civil war between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Li participated in the 1949 Battle of Shanghai as a member of the Republic of China Armed Forces. After retreating to Kinmen, he also fought under Hu Lien's (胡璉) troops in the Battle of Guningtou.
Li says that in the past, he was brainwashed to be anti-communist. His left calf still retains a scar from a bullet fired at him by the People's Liberation Army (PLA). However, seeing Taiwan evolve into something quite different from the Republic of China (ROC) of the martial law era, he has long stopped hating the CCP. In fact, he is looking forward to Taiwan's “reunification” with China.
The Association's CEO is 76-year old Xiao Qin (萧勤) from Shandong province. After a 20 year stint in the PLA and three years in Macau, he moved to Taiwan in 1995. He obtained a Taiwanese passport through a preferential process for Chinese diaspora members from Hong Kong and Macau.
When Xiao is interviewed for this piece, other members of the Association secretly snicker about the KMT's incompetency for failing to screen out people like Xiao from gaining citizenship. Xiao responds with a serious face, “all my procedures and documents are legal.”
Association Secretary-General, Zhang Xiuye (張秀葉), is a woman in her 50s, and the group's most spirited member. She arrived in Taiwan from Shanghai in 1992 through marriage, but is currently divorced. She has worked with the Association for more than ten years.
The vast majority of participants at the Association's events, Zhang says, are spouses who have married to Taiwan from mainland China. “Among them, many are working in the domestic care industry in Taiwan, which means their work hours are relatively flexible. They join us for events when they are free.”
Then there are the second-generation Mainlanders, like Lu Hsin-shang (呂欣尚). Lu is 64 years old, and always wears glasses with black frames. He has a refined and gentle demeanour. His business card reads “Deputy Secretary-General of the Taiwan People's Communist Party”.
The Association and the Taiwan People's Communist Party, in the eyes of Lu, are the two most authentically “red” political organizations, because only they use China's five-star red flag. These two organizations also receive the most media attention and the most momentum.
In contrast, the Chinese Unification Promotion Party (CUPP)—a pro-unification party with strong ties to both Beijing and organized crime in Taiwan—only raises the five-star red flag concurrently with the Republic China's “blue sky, white sun” flag.
This past January, Lu received an invitation from Zhou to join the Association and migrate to northern Taiwan for this position.
The Association currently has about 200 members, around 100 of them regularly attend events. Their membership is mostly comprised of Mainlanders who fled with the KMT to Taiwan after 1949, and more recent Mainland Chinese immigrants to Taiwan. But this number also includes a minority of local Taiwanese people.
Most of their event participants are middle-aged or elderly individuals who are relatively marginalized in both social status and income. Many of them work as drivers, parking managers, or caretakers, while others have already retired.
The Association claims that there are also young people in their ranks, but “they need to go to work, and can only attend our events when they are free.”
Members are often busy running around at these events, but then again, so are the police officers who block off the surrounding area where Association events take place, and then tie the ROC's “blue sky, white sun” flags to all the temporary police barricades.
Suddenly, the two sides of Ketagalan Boulevard are decorated with flags from both sides of the strait, as if a negotiation between the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese Nationalist Party is about to take place.

Disdain for democracy

The Association raised its first five-star red flag on Ketagalan Boulevard on October 1, 2005—the day the People's Republic of China commemorates “National Day”.
The event was a reaction to a similar flag raising ceremony held by an organization that supports Taiwanese independence.
In the summer of 2005, a citizen-led initiative called the 908 Taiwan Republic Campaign proposed establishing September 8—the day Japan gave up its territorial claims to Taiwan in the 1951 Treaty of San Francisco—as the independence day of a future Republic of Taiwan. On the morning of the 8th, about 500 supporters watched as 908 Taiwan Republic Campaign convenor Peter Wang (王獻極) raised a new blue, green, white and red flag with the words “Republic of Taiwan” place in the centre.
In retaliation, the Association raised China's five-star red flag in the same location, celebrating the establishment of the PRC.
In the years following that incident, the Association has been relatively quiet.
That all changed when Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) took office in 2012. Since then, a series of complex changes began to arise among “red” organizations promoting unification in Taiwan.
The Reporter accessed more than 20 files relevant to the Association from the archives of Taiwan’s Department of Civil Affairs. Documents show that the Association amended the party constitution just one year into Xi's first term.
What was once their mandate to “firmly defend the Republic of China, oppose the secession or separation of national territory, and oppose communism” has now become “to firmly defend the common interests of the Chinese nation, and oppose the secession and separation of national territory.”
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Documents recovered from the Department of Civil Affairs on the Concentric Patriotism Association. Yu Chih-wei/The Reporter.
Documents recovered from the Department of Civil Affairs on the Concentric Patriotism Association. Yu Chih-wei/The Reporter.
Beginning in October 2014, the Association started to hold regular events in front of the Presidential Office Building. At these events, Association members invariably hold five-star red flags to protest Taiwanese independence and promote “one country, two systems, and China's reunification.”
In the latter half of 2015, members began putting up flags in Ximending, a popular shopping area in Taipei. The Reporter observed many of these events, and counted about 40 to 50 people in attendance. Zhou is often seen at these events waving two five-star red flags, shouting “Go China!” in his Cantonese accent.
Zhou claims he met with President Xi in Beijing in September 2014, deepening his conviction to hold regular events. “Of course I was very encouraged, because I saw the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Central Committee,” said Zhou. “We are giving it our all. When the country is reunified, I will retire.”
Amid low approval ratings for then-president Ma Ying-jeou and the events of the Sunflower Movement, members of the Association worried that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) could take office again, and would deny the group the right to protest. Association events were then re-framed to become regular occurrences and a conventional practice.
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Concentric Patriotism Association Secretary General Zhang Xiuye. Yu Chih-wei/The Reporter.
Concentric Patriotism Association Secretary General Zhang Xiuye. Yu Chih-wei/The Reporter.
A core member of the Association who wished to remain anonymous said that in the past, the KMT would monopolize resources sent by Beijing. But over the past several years, more attention is being paid to smaller political parties and groups.
Wu Chieh-min (吳介民), an Associate Professor at the Institute of Sociology at Academia Sinica in Taiwan and editor of the book “The Anaconda in the Chandelier” once wrote:
“After the ground-breaking Sunflower Student Movement, collaboration between the Kuomintang and the Chinese Communist Party fell apart, which led to the KMT's massive failure in the subsequent election. The every-day person can recognize the importance of the “China factor” in this electoral outcome. However, the methods through which Beijing is developing on-the-ground allies and when Beijing is exerting pressure on its supporters in Taiwan remain in the dark.”
How does Beijing develop on-the-ground allies? In an interview with The Reporter, Wu emphasizes that the “China factor has been operating in Taiwan for more than a decade.”
“Their most important model operate like this: the Chinese government takes advantage of cross-strait trade relations to build government-business relations,” says Wu. “And then uses its on-the-ground allies to promote Beijing's political agenda regarding Taiwan with the end goal of merging Taiwan and absorbing its sovereignty.”
Wu adds that Association members are different from traditional Taiwanese business people who support China's model of authoritarian development out of opportunistic commercial interests.
“Members of the Association reflect characteristics of a pre-modern, blood-based conception of national identity. They share a strong sense of identification with the Chinese nation, in contrast to a modern-day civic nationalism”, says Wu.
Among these people, many have a personal background or trajectory of migrating from China to Hong Kong or Macau, and then to Taiwan.
This trend also mirrors Beijing's strategy in recent years to develop on-the-ground alliance networks in Hong Kong, the most visible example of which being groups whose names start with the first Chinese character “love”. These groups spare no effort in helping the CCP resist the democracy movement in Hong Kong.
Taiwan is not spared from such infiltration. China's “united front activities” have indeed taken root in Taiwan, but the full reach of these activities is still unclear.
In October 2017, members of the public used a government-backed online participation platform to propose banning the use of the PRC's five-star red flag on Taiwanese soil.
The proposal was rejected by Taiwan's Ministry of Justice, noting that the ban “is not consistent with the ROC Constitution's protections on freedom of expression.”
Freedom of speech ensures the right to wave the flag of an opposing political administration. However, the Association remain disapproving of Taiwan's democracy.
“Taiwan is indeed democratic, but so what? Look at Taiwan's economy. It has been stagnant for the past twenty years. When I first came to Taiwan, it was indeed better than Shanghai. But now, Taiwan is far behind Shanghai,” says Zhang.
Her comments represent the attitude of most of the Association. Compared to intangible democratic freedoms, they care more about a “strong motherland”. Witnessing the rapid development of the Chinese economy has further fuelled their longing for the “China model” and cross-strait unification.
“Look, products made in mainland China are also very high-quality,” says Chang Lu-tai (張魯台), a 63-year-old second-generation mainlander, and a member of the Association. He pulls out his Xiaomi cell phone and starts to fiddle with the Chinese-made device. In his opinion, “democracy is fake, but a nation's power is real.”
Yuan Huanzhen (袁煥珍), a woman who migrated to Taiwan from Sichuan province for marriage, once spoke to Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) at a campaign event when he was running to be the party chairman of the KMT in 2017.
She told Wu during the event, “Mr. Wu, I hope that after you are elected party chairman, you will follow the path of Sun Yat-Sen's (孫逸仙) one-China principle.” According to Yuan, Wu replied with “Yes, China will be unified under the banner of the Republic of China.”
But Yuan found Wu's answer to be absurd. “China is the first or second most powerful country in the world. How could reunification ever be under the terms of Taiwan—The Republic of China?” she says. “At the end of the day, Wu is still a supporter of Taiwanese independence.”
Some members of the Alliance, however, are not so contemptuous of everything in Taiwan.
Xiao Qin is quick to praise the Taiwanese government's public housing allocation process. “This place is good for precisely this reason - there is no distinction based on class differences, between nobleness and lowliness,” says Xiao. “You just line up, and when it's time for your turn, you will receive the housing allocation.”
With regards to the survival of “red” pro-unification organizations in democratic Taiwan, Wu Jiemin looks at this phenomenon from the theoretical perspective of civil society.
“Theirs is a ‘fake civil society’ that fundamentally does not recognize Taiwan as a political community, but proceeds to take advantage of Taiwan's democratic public wealth,” says Wu.

The China factor is deepening

“Your height is just about the same as Zhou”, says Xiao Qin to this reporter.
Xiao isn't referring to Zhou Qingjun, the leader of the Association, but to Zhou Hongxu (周泓旭), a Chinese national recently arrested for spying for the CCP.
A graduate of National Chengchi University, Zhou Hongxu was taken into custody in March 2017, becoming the first case of a Chinese exchange student working as an undercover operative in Taiwan.
Xiao says Zhou Hongxu attended Concentric Patriotism Association events frequently. “Wang Ping-chung (王炳忠) has also attended our events,” says Xiao.
Wang Ping-chung is the New Party's 31 year-old spokesman, and leader of the New Party's Youth Corps. The New Party is the product of a 1993 split within the then-ruling KMT, and has gone on to become the most vocal mainstream political party to advocate for unification. This June, Wang and three other New Party Youth Corps members were arrested on charges of espionage. Prosecutors found evidence that Wang had worked with Zhou Hongxu to infiltrate Taiwan's military, and attempted to create a network of young, pro-Beijing collaborators within political circles.
“Perhaps their contact was too frequent, which attracted these wrongful lawsuits against Zhou,” says Xiao.
The Association believe that Zhou's court verdict was unjust.
But from a Taiwan's perspective, as cross-strait relations continue to deteriorate, the impact of the “China factor” continues to deepen, leading the Taiwanese government to pay closer attention to possible infiltration by the CCP.
The majority DPP caucus in Taiwan's Legislative Yuan recently proposed changing the definition of organized crime in Taiwan's Regulations on the Prevention of Organized Crime from “continuous and profit-seeking” to “continuous or profit-seeking.” Based on the context of the proposed changes, it's likely the DPP's bill seeks to target pro-unification political parties like the Association and the Chinese Unification Promotion Party (CUPP).
The CUPP and the Association believe that Taiwan's Ministry of Interior—the ministry responsible for managing the country's political parties—is deliberately making things difficult for their respective parties by sending auditors to monitor their finances. When Xiao Qin encounters said auditors, he doesn't miss a chance to scold them.
“Today, you have the power to clear our accounts, but when I have the power one day, it will be me who's clearing yours!” says Xiao.
However, auditing the Association's finances has little to do with creating obstacles for the group. For instance, the annual report submitted by the Association to the Ministry in 2017 lists $560,000 New Taiwan dollars ($18,000 USD) of “political party funding”.
Taiwan's regulations on political party funding states that political organizations must report and seek approval from the Control Yuan—the political body tasked with monitoring the government—before accepting funds.
The Association has never reported special accounts for political party funding, leading the Department of Civil Affairs to send a letter on September 6, 2017 requesting an explanation.
But the Association claims that this lump sum of “political party funding” is actually personal donations from Association President Zhou Qingjun. They claim that they changed the budgetized item in the annual report to “special funding”, and wrote the following to the Department of Civil Affairs:
“The Concentric Patriotism Association and its members support the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, support the reunification of the country, oppose separatism of national territory, and firmly denounce Taiwan's independence. This position will not waver regardless of which political party is in power. If anyone wishes to indict us for our opposition to Taiwanese independence, they will bear the effects of karma within one or two years. We sincerely call upon public servants to strictly observe a neutral position as the political scene in Taiwan is about to change.”
According to the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, unless granted permission, organizations in Taiwan may not engage in any form of cooperation with Chinese political parties, the government, or military institutions.
Members of the Association do not shy away from discussing their contact with various levels of the Chinese government, including the Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO), the main political body tasked with setting China's guidelines and policies related to Taiwan. Xiao Qin mentions that he's dined with Gong Qinggai (龚清概), the TAO's former Deputy Director.
In the past, Xiao has written recommendations about how to promote unification and submitted them to officers at the TAO. One of the TAO officers responded passionately with: “Rest assured, you can count on the organization.”
However, Xiao admits that after these suggestions were submitted, he has yet to receive a response. According to him, many Chinese officers are “too high to be reached, and impossible to have a conversation with.”
Over the past few years, the TAO system has started to pay increasing attention to local organizations in Taiwan. The Association is deeply aware of this shift. One of their core members said to The Reporter in a serious tone: “To be honest, what we want the most is for the other side [the TAO] to send core executive members here and deliver lessons, just like they used to do in the ‘underground political party’ days.”
Members of the Association often describe their life in a grandiose and dramatic fashion, full of intrigue and intelligence activity. For instance, they assume their telephone calls are monitored and compromised, and believe they are on the Taiwan government's “black list”.
“Xiao Qin never uses WeChat or other chat apps, and he only contacts me by calling me over the phone,” says Lu Hsin-shang. “It seems like he has received professional training. I think he is here with a special mission.”
The truth is far less glamorous. During Xiao's time in the PLA, he directed the department of health and did some work for the Communist Youth League of China. After arriving in Taiwan, he worked as a baker, not a spy.
Nevertheless, Lu still believes he's being watched. “For people who do work like us, it is probably better to stick to small alleys and restaurants.”
Conflicts between “red” pro-unification organizations
At 201 Xining South Road, near the busy Ximending shopping area, the Association occupies floors two to five in an old walk-up apartment building.
The Main office on the second floor is covered with framed portraits of Sun Yat-sen and XI Jinping, with printed Chinese characters reading: “Complete the founding father's mission of national reunification.
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The offices of the Concentric Patriotic Association. Yu Chih-wei/The Reporter.
The offices of the Concentric Patriotic Association. Yu Chih-wei/The Reporter.
Sources say the Association spends more than $100,000 NTD ($3,200 USD) on expenses every month, the majority of which is covered by Zhou Qingjun.
The Association's official website says that “after Zhou immigrated to Taiwan, he worked with Chang Wei-kuang (張偉光) and Hsu Cheng-tsung (許承宗), both members of the former ROC National Assembly, to establish the ‘Anti-Communist Patriotic Front.’ On November 12, 1993, Zhou left the Anti-Communist Patriotic Front, and established the Association, which operates to this day.“
But aside from Zhou, there are few other members that have been with the organization since the beginning, and the origins of the group are buried in rumours and gossip.
Li You-ming believes the Association was founded by Ma Ying-jeou's father, Ma Ho-ling (馬鶴凌), and also shares a connection to the martial law era KMT party magazine Ji Feng (疾風).
Zhou also insists that the Association has no history as an anti-communist organization. But documents from the Department of Civil Affairs show this to be false. Even Xiao Qin mentions that the Association initially opposed communism.
“Back then, Zhou escaped from Guangdong, and he himself used to be an anti-communist,” says Xiao. “However, after witnessing the development of mainland China, his political attitude changed, so my role is to urge him to continue on this path.”
The relationship between the Concentric Patriotism Association and the Chinese Unification Promotion Party is also complex and difficult to summarize. Founded by former Bamboo Union crime boss Chang An-le (張安樂), the CUPP shares a close bond with the CPP, formed when Chang was hiding in China while on the run from Taiwanese law enforcement.
Many Taiwanese people believe that the two organizations share similar political positions and operations. In fact, some even confuse the two. A link to the CUPP even appears in a cached snapshot of the Association's old website.
Zhang Xiuye also mentions that a CUPP candidate running for Taipei City Council, Lee Cheng-lung (李承龍), has close ties to the Association, and is a frequent participant in their events.
However, according to Zhou, the CUPP at most shares similar political ideas with the Association, and the two have no substantial connection. “We do our thing, and they do theirs,” says Zhou.
In fact, it appears one event in particular led to a rift between the two pro-reunification organizations. During the “Sunflower Movement” student protests against a secretive free trade pact between Taiwan and China, the CUPP and the Association bandied together to hold a counter-protest in support of the KMT-CCP negotiated deal.
On April 1, 2014, the day of the event, the Association and the CUPP were unable to properly coordinate their respective automobile convoys, with the CUPP's Chang believing the Association were trying to steal his thunder. The two groups had a public falling out at the scene of the counter-protest.
Despite the bad blood, some members of the CUPP express concern for the Association. “Because many in the Association are elderly or physically weak individuals, I've routinely brought a few people to support their monthly events at Ximending,” said an anonymous CUPP party branch member.
However, due to recent scuffles with pro-independence groups, said branch member has become embroiled in a lawsuit himself, and has been unable to organize support for their events.

Love and bread

During the Association's protests at Ketagalan Boulevard, people occasionally approach Zhou Qingjun to initiate a conversation.
In April, an elderly male participant pulled Zhou aside, seemingly complaining about an unresolved situation he has encountered. At the end of the conversation, Zhou tells him: “if this issue cannot be addressed, I will deal with it for you when the Communist Party arrives!” Afterwards, the elderly man talking to Zhou decides to join in, and starts to wave a five-star red flag. Zhou quickly finds an opportunity to snap a picture of this elderly new Association volunteer.
With PRC flags fluttering in front of the Presidential Office, it's not just tourists and passerby's snapping photos of this strange event, sometimes Zhou himself needs to stop and document the “red sea” of five-star red flags.
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One of the Concentric Patriotism Association's red minivans. Yu Chih-wei/The Reporter.
One of the Concentric Patriotism Association's red minivans. Yu Chih-wei/The Reporter.
“When Zhou is not in Taiwan, he will remind us every day that we must take photos at our events,” says Lu Hsin-shang.
What is the purpose of these photos? “So we can tell China's Taiwan Affairs Office that we hosted many events,” says Xiao Qin in a matter-of-fact way.
“I hope that my involvement in the Association can create lasting change that will take root in Taiwan,” he says. “However, some red and pro-unification organizations simply take photos and do not do practical, concrete work.”
Xiao has lost his temper with other pro-unification parties in the past. He accused Lu Yuexiang (盧月香) of the China Production Party—a political party that mobilizes Mainland Chinese spouses living in Taiwan to vote for pan-blue or pro-unification parties—for reaping financial benefits in China while neglecting the party's “due diligence” to influence Taiwan public opinion to support the CCP.
So the question has become, are red and pro-unification political organizations united by a similar political ideology, or are they mere supporters of practical benefit?
One anonymous member bristles at the question: “I have never accepted money from the Association, but it is evident that some people come to these events at a cost.” The member goes on:
“I have participated in types of events where I can earn $1200 NTD ($38 USD) by holding banners or shouting slogans for 10 to 20 minutes. I have attended this type of event twice. The other instance is when former Vice President of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) Zhang Mingqing (张铭清) came to Taiwan. When he left, red and pro-unification political parties mobilized their members to bid him farewell. In reality, these organizations just wanted to create an image for the Chinese government and media to use, in order to demonstrate how people in Taiwan strongly welcomed his visit.”
The Reporter spoke regularly with participants at Association events, many of them said they attended every week (even every week day) and insisted their participation was entirely voluntary. Some say that these participants have a high level of commitment to the cause because they were former CCP members prior to coming to Taiwan.
Zhang Xiuye admits that because she works full-time at the Association, she does receive a salary. Others do not earn an income for their involvement. But Zhou Qingjun says everyone is a volunteer, and at most, members only receive a reimbursement for travel costs.
Zhou holds other interests outside the Association, including, at one time, investments in China's Hubei province. He admits that he covers most of the organization's expenses through his business dealings. “If I don't have investments in mainland China, where would I get the money for this?”
According to documents from China's department for industry and commerce, Zhou and his wife Lin Mingmei (林明美) registered an investment firm with $2 million RMB ($288,000 USD) in registered capital in 2011.
Zhou’s firm was reported to have initially invested in golden snapper aquaculture breeding grounds, with plans to invest a further $50 million RMB ($7.2 million USD). The author of the report was a TAO media officer in Hubei province, where Zhou began his investments in 2010. Other articles claim he invested in about 66 hectares of mountainous land in the city of Dangyang, Hubei.
When an epidemic erupted in his fish ponds, the city-level TAO director in Dangyang sent experts to resolve the situation. When his fish became unsellable, Hubei's provincial-level TAO director made personal calls to channel sales for his company.
Despite the local government's support, Zhou's business earned dismal profits, and ended in failure. This April, a TAO website published a notice that Zhou'property in Dangyang has been left untouched for a long period of time, due to its location and the nature of the land.
The TAO notice explained “the importance of properly managing the legal assets of Taiwanese merchants, and the significance of ensuring the legal rights of Taiwanese merchants,” and later persuaded a local Chinese company to purchase the property.
When pressed about these reports, Zhou laughs and denies the existence of the aforementioned assets. However, he did note to The Reporter that “it's really not good” that the TAO writes about his investments and publishes it on the internet.
He says that he does not understand the internet, and asks to be sent the article links so he can decide whether he should talk to the TAO to have the articles retracted. At the same time, Zhou emphasizes: “We cannot accept money from the Chinese government, that is against Taiwanese law.”
Zhang Xiuye is Zhou's closest associate, and confirmed his investment in Dangyang, Hubei.
She refutes the claim that Zhou planned to invest $50 million RMB and that $2.2 million RMB ($322,000 USD) is a far more likely figure.
His business was supported by the Dangyang government because there was no electricity when he started his investment, says Zhang. The climate was cold, and the fish didn't grow well. He also wasn't clear about the nature of the land, and spent $300,000 RMB ($43,000 USD) on building a second floor. He went on to sell the property for only $100,000 RMB ($14,000 USD).
Zhou has since moved on to investments in the coastal city of Zhuhai, in Guangdong province, where he plans to open a retirement home. “To clarify, this is not to make a profit” he says.
He was recently reported to have invested in agricultural land in Zhuhai's surrounding countryside, where he's said to have a number of aquaculture breeding ponds. Although Zhou says the land and ponds are quite sizeable, Zhang says the true size is smaller than he claims.
“Investments there can in fact return profits,” says Zhang “which subsidize some of the Association's expenses.” She adds that Zhou rented the new land in Zhuhai from the people, and not from the government.
Core members are aware of Zhou's investments in China, but don't seem to mind. “Business is fundamentally profit-seeking,” says Xiao Qin “and receiving special treatment is also justified, because we are siding with the Chinese government.”

The Falun Gong next door

Between three and five in the afternoon, every Monday to Friday, the Association promotes “red, pro-reunification thought” in front of Taipei 101, where half a dozen supporters show up. These regular events are how many visitors to Taiwan learn about the Association, and their display of five-star red flags has become an unusual attraction in Taipei City.
For six years, Xiao Qin has worn his army cap, held a five-star red flag, and sang his own edition of “Ode to the Motherland”—a famous patriotic song written shortly after the founding of the People's Republic of China.
He sometimes gives a chipmunk-style performance to get a rise from the crowd. “Hello everyone, let's unite to grow our economy, and stop using rations for cloth, grain, and rice; now we only want big money with Chairman Mao printed on it.”
Charter buses loaded with tourists from China will stop in front of Taipei 101. Xiao Qin usually approaches them, many of whom are eager to take photos or clap for him.
Fill 1
An Association member waves the PRC canton in front of a charter tour bus. Yu Chih-wei/The Reporter.
An Association member waves the PRC canton in front of a charter tour bus. Yu Chih-wei/The Reporter.
The Reporter asks Zhou, shouldn't promoting national unification with China mainly be targeted towards Taiwanese people? He gives an unusual response. Stationing themselves in front of Taipei 101 is to ensure “Mainland Chinese tourists aren't pulled away by ‘bad people’”.
Zhou is referring to members of the Falun Gong, who have stationed themselves in front of Taipei 101 for the past ten years. Members of the religious group often gather at major landmarks visited by Chinese tour groups. They hand out pamphlets about CCP abuses against Falun Gong practitioners in China, perform Qi Gong exercises, or sit in silent meditation. That led the Association to bring banners and posters of their own.
Over the years, the Association and the Falun Gong have sued and counter-sued each other for dozens of transgressions, including defamation, violating social order, compensation for damage and infringing on personal freedoms. Some suits are successful while others fail. In the most serious criminal case, Xiao Qin was sentenced to 55 days in custody.
Many of the cases, however, can appear quite ridiculous, with most documented instances consisting of name-calling and yelling: “I think you're a witch!” or descriptions of assault such as “had the intention to harm the victim, kicked a Falun Gong member's inner right thigh with his right foot.”
“Association members are quite rude, and accuse us of being shameless or dramatic, and sometimes they even get physical,” said a member of the Falun Gong at Taipei 101. “But we never engage in fights with them, which is why we’ve never been punished by the police.”
Because the two groups have been “warring” with each other for so long, members of the Association and the Falun Gong have gradually gotten to know each other. When they're not fighting, they sometimes share a few words of conversation.
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Association Vice-President Li You-ming walks in front of a portrait of Xi Jinping. Yu Chih-wei/The Reporter.
Association Vice-President Li You-ming walks in front of a portrait of Xi Jinping. Yu Chih-wei/The Reporter.
Once, Xiao Qin happened to be standing in front of a pile of Falun Gong promotional materials. He saw a piece of paper fly from the pile, and fall to the ground. Xiao bent down to pick up the piece of paper, and after a brief moment of hesitation, put the piece of paper back in its original place.

End scene” or merely “scene change” for the Association?

Over the last five years, the Association have seemingly become a permanent fixture at Taipei 101 and Ximending. But things are about to change for the organization.
According to the Political Party Act passed in 2017, political organizations established under the Civil Associations Act must revise their articles of association to become political parties with the next two years; they are then obligated to nominate candidates to run for office.
If organizations like the Association do not complete this process in a four-year time frame, they will be disqualified and disbanded.
For a political organization that still handwrites their correspondence with Taiwan's Department of Civil Affairs, the Act is pushing the 25-year old Association to consider change. Zhou says elections have been on his list of initiatives for a long time, and he wants to put forward Association candidates to run in the November 2018 local elections.
But Zhang Xiuye lacks confidence, and admits that the Association's participation in the election is somewhat forced. “We're walking the red, pro-reunification path, but we need to know if Taiwanese people agree or disagree with this idea. We are also just giving it a try.”
After President Xi took the stage, Beijing moved to create a network of collaborators by appealing to a blood-based national culture; pro-unification organizations in Taiwan gained a new life.
The Association is by no means, representative of public opinion in Taiwan, but scenes of grey-haired supporters holding five-star red flags singing “red songs” will continue in this democratic country. Then again, cooperation (and competition) between Taiwan's various red, pro-reunification organizations is also unlikely to see a curtain call any time soon.

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