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Billionaire Robert Tsao training Taiwan civilians to prepare for invasion from China

Billionaire Taiwanese businessman Robert Tsao used to support China's efforts to unify with Taiwan, which Beijing views as a breakaway territory. File Photo by Ritchie B. Tongo/EPA-EFE
Billionaire Taiwanese businessman Robert Tsao used to support China's efforts to unify with Taiwan, which Beijing views as a breakaway territory. File Photo by Ritchie B. Tongo/EPA-EFE

Sept. 2 (UPI) -- Microchip billionaire Robert Tsao says he has reinstated his Taiwanese citizenship and will spend $32 million of his own money to train "civilian warriors" to be prepared for an invasion from China.

Tsao, the founder of chip maker United Microelectronics Corp., said the plan would train 3.3 million Taiwanese residents to defend themselves due to the constant threat from Beijing, which views Taiwan as a breakaway Chinese territory.

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The tech leader gave up his Taiwanese citizenship to protest a government investigation of his company in 2011 for investing in a Chinese business project. He later cited the democracy movement in Hong Kong as his "wake-up call."

"I am excited about regaining my Taiwanese citizenship and want to stand with my fellow countrymen to fight against the invasion from the Chinese Communist Party and to safeguard Taiwan, making Taiwan a "land of the free and the home of the brave," Tsao said according to Taiwan News.

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The announcement is an about-face for Tsao, who'd previously supported China's effort to reunite with Taiwan. China's violent crackdown on the protesters in Hong Kong in 2019, however, made Tsao rethink his position.

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"If we can successfully resist China's ambitions, we not only will be able to safeguard our homeland but make a big contribution to the world situation and the development of civilization," Tsao said Thursday according to The Guardian.

Tsao said he will work with Taiwan's civilian defense organization, the Kuma Academy, where 60% of his donation will go toward building a civilian force and 40% to training another 300,000 in how to shoot.

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