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Taipei parade was either hoax to cheat donors or signal to Trump Administration

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A flashy parade outside the Presidential Palace in Taipei in June 2017 was billed as a march to change the international legal status of Taiwan. The parade attracted few onlookers but did get the attention of police stationed along the route. The march was Taiwan Civil Government's flexing of muscle and demonstration that it was a contender in the shaping of Taiwan's future.

Taiwan Civil Government seeks the ouster of the exiled Republic of China government from Taiwan until the island status can be resolved. The ROC was installed in 1945 as a temporary occupation regime by the United States after the end of World War II combat with Japan. TCG seeks American military assistance expelling the ROC.

In May of this year ROC prosecutors ordered the arrest of TCG founder Roger Lin and six group leaders, including wife Julian Lin, on fraud charges. The Lins and the 79 year-old landlord of TCG headquarters remain held in solitary confinement, incommunicado, and without bail. Prosecutors claim that the TCG leadership was an elaborate political fraud ring designed to cheat members of the group into making donations.

The parade, under the prosecution theory, was an example of spending money to make money. The showy street march was an expensive proposition with all the uniforms, flags, banners, vehicles, etc. However, prosecutors argue that kind of spending was necessary in order to make even more money in donations. Like an endless pursuit of the end of a rainbow, the goal was always beyond reach and more cash was perpetually sought.

Supporters say the parade was what it appeared, a public display of a political objective. The parade was a legitimate expression of a call to expel the ROC. However, neither version takes into account the timing of the parade, just a month after Julian Lin had a private session with Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway.

Taiwan Civil Government began courting Donald Trump before his 2016 election, paying $83,963.71 to Washington publicist Shelley Hymes, a longtime friend of Kellyanne Conway, then Trump's campaign manager. After the election, the effort to win favor with Trump accelerated with a dramatic increase in spending with junkets, media sponsorships, event hosting, advertising and lobbying. Julian Lin came to Washington for the Trump inauguration picking up tabs as she went. TCG dropped $62,500 on POLITICO for the Inauguration Hub party site and gave $7,500 toward an inaugural luncheon of the California State Society.

In May 2017, TCG's $125,000 investment in the POLITICO Powerlist reception paid off. Lin took to the stage and welcomed attendees, speaking briefly about Taiwan's unresolved status. One of the Powerlist powerful was Kellyanne Conway, who was in attendance. After Lin's remarks she and Neil Hare, the TCG lobbyist and registered Foreign Agent, went to a private alcove where they waited for Conway. Roaming the room, Conway spied Hare and approached Lin. The three huddled together talking until a photographer interrupted and persuaded Conway and Lin to pose together.

One month later, after the POLITICO meet-up between Lin and Conway, TCG staged its massive parade. A hoax to deceive followers? Or, a follow-up message to the Trump Administration of TCG moxie? Watch the parade video, you decide.

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Michael Richardson is a freelance writer living in Belize. Richardson writes about Taiwan foreign policy, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Black Panther Party. Richardson was Ralph Nader's ballot access manager during the 2004 and (more...)

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