Cyber Conflict between Taiwan and China

Strategic Insight, 10(1):26-35, 2012

11 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2015 Last revised: 18 Aug 2015

Date Written: April 1, 2012


The Republic of China (Taiwan hereafter) and the People’s Republic of China (China hereafter) are two particularly attractive targets for internet hackers. Reports have found that, compared to other countries in the Asia and Pacific regions, China and Taiwan rank as the top two countries in terms of malicious computer activity. Reports have also shown that most hacking into Taiwanese computer systems is initiated from within China and most hacking into Chinese systems originates within Taiwan.

Malicious computer activity across the Taiwan Strait not only impacts computer users in Taiwan and China but it also affects numerous users in other countries as well. It is not only a problem for China and Taiwan to remedy, nor is it one that they alone should deal with. As a matter of fact, reports have found that there have been a number of computer attacks against the US that originated from computers in Taiwan but were controlled by command and control servers in China.

The current lack of formal mutual cooperation between Taiwan and China has become a bottleneck for the successful investigation of transnational cybercrime. Therefore, the establishment of other feasible mutual cooperation options between Taiwan and China has become an important concern not only between Taiwan and China but for all countries. Impeded by the present political situation, there is currently no formal mutual assistance agreement against crime between Taiwan and China.

However, there exists a level of quasi-formal and informal cooperation between law enforcement agencies, and these include “The Kinmen Agreement”, “The Agreement on Cross-Strait Mutual Assistance in Crime Matters” (hereafter, The Agreement on Mutual Assistance), and informal police-to-police cooperation. It is arguable whether these existing cooperation methods are applicable to cybercrime issues because cybercrime is potentially more sensitive for both governments as opposed to more conventional crimes.

This paper will introduce cases of cybercrime across the Taiwan Strait and the existing mutual cooperation methods used against crime. Based on interview data, it will also examine the use of quasi-formal agreements signed by non-governmental organizations under the authorization of both governments, and it will then examine the role played by informal relationships between police officials. In each case, the paper will examine obstacles these strategies face in obtaining cooperation.

Keywords: cybercrime; Cyber conflict; Taiwan Strait; cyber warfare; cyber conflict; cross-strait cooperation; police cooperation

Suggested Citation

Chang, Lennon, Cyber Conflict between Taiwan and China (April 1, 2012). Strategic Insight, 10(1):26-35, 2012. Available at SSRN:

Lennon Chang (Contact Author)

Monash University ( email )

Wellington Road
Victoria, Clayton 3800

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