There is a stunning drive shaping Taiwanese politics — an alleged mobster who spent years in U.S. federal jail. He talks about how his time in U.S. jail introduced him nearer to Beijing.
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Our worldwide correspondents spend a number of time within the discipline speaking to folks on the heart of stories tales. And typically, they hear one thing that does not fairly match into the story that they are attempting to file on deadline, however they cannot shake it out of their head – a bit of sound that by no means makes it to air however that they cannot overlook. All this week, we have been asking our worldwide correspondents to carry us their favourite piece of tape from 2019 that hit the chopping room flooring. My co-host Mary Louise Kelly caught up with Emily Feng, our correspondent primarily based in Beijing.
MARY LOUISE KELLY, BYLINE: So who’re we about to listen to from?
EMILY FENG, BYLINE: We’re about to listen to from a person named Chang An-lo. He is also referred to as the White Wolf in Taiwan, the place he lives now. However earlier than he went again to Taiwan, he spent a decade within the U.S. in federal jail, really.
FENG: He was there for smuggling narcotics and in addition as a result of he was linked to the homicide of a Taiwanese American journalist. However in federal jail, he met a variety of folks, different criminals. And that is what he needed to say about his time there.
CHANG AN-LO: (By means of interpreter) Usually, the Chinese language who go to the U.S. solely see it as a heaven. However in U.S. federal jail, you see one other facet. I noticed that facet. U.S. federal jail was my faculty.
FENG: So along with being a felony, Chang An-lo can also be a mob boss, and he is a really well-known pro-Beijing agitator. And I hadn’t realized that, for somebody who’s so pro-China, that the U.S. had had a major affect on his political outlook.
KELLY: Wow. OK, so let me meet up with you right here. You had been there in Taiwan interviewing a Taiwanese mob boss who has served time in a U.S. federal jail. What had you gone to interview him about, by the best way, earlier than you bought on this path?
FENG: One thing fully totally different. It was concerning the Taiwanese elections, that are occurring January 11 and by which he is very controversial as a result of he’s lobbying for a variety of pro-Beijing candidates. However he began speaking about his time within the U.S., and he talked actually fondly about his time in jail. He met a variety of individuals who he mentioned had been Black Panthers, who had been socialist activists, had been Native American activists – principally, anybody who had a grievance indirectly or one other with the U.S. authorities. And what he took away from that decade and people folks was that when it got here to his personal political activism and defending Taiwan’s pursuits, he ought to go together with China. He shouldn’t belief the USA.
KELLY: Fascinating. What was going by means of your head as you are sitting there interviewing this man with a rare story?
FENG: Skepticism. He, once more, is a convicted felony. He was a mob boss. He was a part of this massive gang in Taiwan referred to as the Bamboo Union, which was extremely influential in native politics within the 1990s. He, in fact, denies now that he has any hyperlinks in anyway to that gang, however he is nonetheless actually, actually lively in politics on the presidential and on the native degree.
KELLY: Right here within the U.S., the information about China is a lot targeted on the protests in Hong Kong and the commerce battle and all of that. Simply the place are issues headed for Taiwan and China in 2020?
FENG: The massive query of the Taiwanese elections is what to do about China, which is the rather more highly effective, extra authoritarian neighbor at Taiwan’s doorstep. And Chang An-lo is firmly on the facet of the pro-Beijing camp. Many individuals see him as infiltrating Taiwan’s democratic establishments, however he thinks Taiwan ought to look in direction of China. And provided that the protests in Hong Kong are occurring, lots of people in Taiwan and Hong Kong need to the USA as each an ally and a protector. However Chang An-lo is that this different voice, albeit a really doubtful one, saying, let’s not belief the USA. Let’s belief China.
KELLY: That’s Beijing correspondent Emily Feng, one in every of our many worldwide correspondents who’re sharing moments that may persist with them from 2019.
Emily Feng, thanks a lot.
FENG: Thanks, Mary Louise.
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