Reforming Intelligence: Identity and Security in Taiwan

Issue Date July 2006
Volume 17
Issue 3
Page Numbers 58-71
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The intelligence and security services of the Republic of China on Taiwan have been transformed by democratization and Taiwanization. After decades as "political police" answering to the Nationalist Party, in the 1980s they began to focus on threats to the state, ending the use of coercion, and accepting external supervision. Like all aspects of political change on Taiwan, however, institutional reform of these agencies, particularly the National Security Bureau, became caught up in the island's unresolved dilemmas of national identity and its precarious relationship with the People's Republic of China. Such conflicts threaten to undermine the effectiveness of these agencies.