Taiwanese attorney Fan Ren-yu has issued a statement on behalf of Roger and Julian Lin protesting their May arrests for political fraud. The Lins are leaders of Taiwan Civil Government, an advocacy group opposed to the Republic of China in-exile now ruling Taiwan, and are being held incommunicado, in solitary confinement with no bail. The harsh detention conditions of the Lins has sparked social media concern about the fairness of the ROC courts.
Taiwan Civil Government has been spending large sums of money in the past few years to break out of the strategic ambiguity that clouds Taiwan's sovereignty, and leaves a once-temporary Chinese regime still ruling, seven decades after World War II. The ROC was installed by the United States military so TCG wants American help to rid the island of the exiled Chinese government.
TCG spending includes numerous offices around Taiwan, international junkets, parades and large rallies, operation of a paramilitary unit, advertising, federal litigation in the United States, and aggressive lobbying activity in Washington. To obtain a fraud conviction ROC prosecutors need to prove the expenditures and effort was merely an elaborate ruse to separate donors from their money.
All the money that TCG poured into Washington opened doors and the group was gaining rapid traction at the time of the arrests. Julian Lin was becoming a recognized spokeswoman of a new future for Taiwan, speaking at Washington political gatherings, leading delegations to international events, and enjoying the ear of Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to President Donald Trump.
Fan Ren-yu denied the political fundraising activities of TCG were unlawful. Fan said, "The donor's regret afterwards is not a constitutive element of fraud."
Fan argues if Roger Lin and his wife had spent the fundraising proceeds, they should be in the scope of encroachment and not facing fraud charges, instead the Lins should be dealing with private civil actions not public criminal charges. Prosecutors are claiming the Lins had amassed millions of dollars in cash and bank accounts controlled by Julian Lin by deception. TCG members disagree saying the money was the group's war-chest.
" The Taiwan Civil Government is registered in America as Taiwan Civil Government Foundation. In Taiwan, it is an institution outside the system. It is impossible to open an account in a financial institution in Taiwan. Therefore, Roger Lin and his wife deposited the funds of the foundation in cash and kept it in the house. The cupboard is not inappropriate in the law, nor does it constitute a problem of money laundering. It is even more irrelevant to the constitutive elements of fraud."
Fan also offered up a peek at the defense to come. The Lins will use their criminal trial to advance their attack on the ROC, challenging jurisdiction of the court to hear an internal matter of a foundation registered in the United States. The Lins are not novices in the courtroom, having brought two federal lawsuits in Washington, one seeking US passports for Taiwan residents and the other sought to overturn the ROC imposed "Nationality Act" of 1946 which deprived island residents of their Japanese citizenship. The courts were sympathetic to the Lin arguments but determined the passport case was political not legal while the nationality case was a moot issue.
ROC prosecutors have kicked a beehive while Washington insiders watch, wonder, and wait.