China escalated its campaign against Taiwan yesterday by offering rewards of more than $2 million in gold to Nationalist chinese air force and navl officers who defect to the Communist mainland.
It was the first time in 14 years that Peking had made such an offer, indicating the new vigor and variety of its psychological war against the Nationalists and its willingness to use even methods with capitalist overtones.
Peking provided a list of rewards for equipment defecting officers might bring from Taiwan, ranging from about $2 million for a U.S. made F5E fighter to $5.7 million for a navy destroyer. The appeal came three days before the convening of China's fifth National People's Congress, which is expected to endorse a noholds bared campaign to win over taiwanese and perhaps establish a cabinet-level department of overseas Chinese affairs to oversee the effort.
The Ta Kung Pao, a pro-Peking Chinese-language newspaper here, carried the offers of bounties to Taiwan pilots and navy officers on its front page. The story by the China News Agency, a Communist news service that seems especially aimed at overseas Chinese, said the offer came in a circular from the Chinese army command in Fukien, the strategic province just across the straits from Taiwan.
"It is a patriotic and righteous act for Chiang's military officers to revolt," said the announcement, referring to Taiwan Premier Ching Chingkuo. "The people's government will give them useful work, and take care of them and their property . . . if two or more come in the same plane they will receive extra rewards apart from those stated."
Analysts here said available records indicate that no defecting Nationalist pilots have flown across the straits since the early 1960s, when Peking ended its broadcasts advertising an earlier reward program. One pilot in the Nationalist air force who flew to the mainland in 1963, Hsu Ting-che, has since won several promotions in the Communist air force and was mentioned prominently in a TaKung Pao commentary that accompanied yesterdayhs article.
In 1974, the official New China News Agency reported that a Nationalist naval officer defected to the mainland in a rubber raft, bringing with him a heaby machine gun, two pistols and a radio transmitter. tr for ad one
Analysts here said the new reward offers seem principally motivated by Peking's decision to step up the propaganda war against Taiwan. Peking recently vowed to change its often suspicious attitude toward the 40 million Chinese who live outside the mainland and warmly welcome any who choose to move back to China.
But a Ta Kung Pao columnist also suggested yesterday that the rewards signal Peking's new, casual attitude toward using cash incentives to get results in their socialist society. The late chairman Mao Tse-tung often frowned on such rewards. At the moment there are few luxury items for anyone blessed with new wealth to buy on the mainland.
"It would be nice if they'd give you an exit permit along with the gold so you could come to Hong Kong and spend it," said one Western analyst.
The mainland rewards seem to dopy an inducement campaign for defectors that Taiwan has been advertising for years. Last summer the Nationalists scored a major propaganda victory when Chinese air force pilot Fan Yuan-yen flew his MIG19 to Taiwan and received $800,000 in gold as a reward. He was the fifth communist pilot to defect across the 90-mile-wide strait. His arrival brought favorable headlines for Taiwan around the world at a time when the Nationalists' diplomatic fortunes had sunk to a new low
In an interview in October, Fan said he tried to refuse the reward or give it to charity, to prove that he defected because of communist oppression and not because of the money. But he said the Nationalist government insisted he keep it to encourage other mainland pilots and forestall any suggestions that he had been forced to give it up.
Peking on the other hand, publicly praised Hsu for turning back much of the reward he was paid for his defection in 1963.
Yesterday's Fukien announcement gave detailed advice on compass bearings to reach Mainland airfields.
"If you fly in during daylight, please wag your wings as you pass the coast. Cut your speed and lower pour landing gear and you will be guaranteed safe landing," the announcement said.
A dispatch from New China News Agency, released yesterday as an apparent park of the same anti-Taiwan campaign, jeered at the Nationalists for their growing diplomatic isolation.
"Still more dismaying to the Chiang gang is that in 1977 more influential American personages openly advocated severance of diplomatic relations," the agency said.