The National Socialism Association (NSA) is a Taiwanese far-right political organization. Despite having been labeled as a Nazi or neo-Nazi group by organizations such as Fox News, the Jerusalem Post and the Taipei Times, they deny this label. The NSA has never engaged in any acts of violence or terrorism and its members rarely even meet in person, with their activity mostly revolving around online campaigns and virtual events. As of 2007, there were only 20 dues-paying members, and it does not seem the organization has grown significantly since then (1).
History & Foundations
The origins of the NSA is somewhat unclear, as sources list differing dates and name different people as founders and leaders. However, between 2005 and 2007, members of the now-defunct forum twnazi.org began forming what would later be known as the National Socialism Association (2). Haaretz reported in 2007 that the group was led by 23-year-old Yue Shu-ya and co-founded by Lahn Chao (趙威). The same year, the Taipei Times reported that it was instead co-founded by university students Hsu Na-chi (許娜綺 and Lahn Chao (3). Although the source of this ambiguity is not entirely certain, it seems that it stems off the inconsistencies of the group’s hierarchy, which can be traced back to its roots as an online forum. Seemingly so, different individuals have attempted to take credit for founding the group.
Objectives & Ideology
Like many far-right political organizations, a large motivator for the NSA stems from fears that Taiwan’s ‘national stock’ is becoming ‘diluted’ from mainly Southeast Asian people who are moving to the island for better pay and work opportunities. This is despite the fact that 95% of the island’s population shares a heritage from mainland China (4).
Lahn Chao, the alleged co-founder of the NSA, has said that he wants to limit the amount of foreign workers in Taiwan; as of 2019, there were 706,000 foreign workers in Taiwan (5), mainly from Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines, comprising 0.03% of the total population. More provokingly, Hsu Na-chi has said that, “if foreign laborers have children in Taiwan, the government must exterminate them. In order to stop our genetic stock from further deterioration, strict monitoring and cruel punishments are called for” (3). However, later in a BBC interview, she withdrew this statement and soon afterwards the NSA apologized to the Israeli Representative Office in Taiwan for anti-Semitic remarks on their website (8).
Despite comments like those from Hsu, which have fuelled the allegations of the NSA’s links with neo-Nazi ideology, Yue Shu-ya has attempted to justify their views by emphasizing that they “want to study Hitler's good points, not study his massacres. It has nothing to do with Naziism” (6). Shang Emile, who was one of the heads of the Taipei Municipal Government, said, “Many young people [in Taiwan] don't know what National Socialism is all about. I don't know if they are really racist.” (1)(7) Shang also had Hsu Na-chi in one of his classes when he taught at Soochow University. Both of the main political parties in Taiwan have used images of Hitler in the past. In 2001, for instance, the Democratic Progressive Party used an image of Hitler for a TV advertisement and in 2005 the Kuomintang (KMT) used his image during the presidential election. (7)
Military & Political Abilities
Owing to the extremely low numbers that the NSA has, it is highly unlikely that they possess any form of military or political capabilities. There was one reported “party conference” in 2007, but this amounted to mainly high school students attending (1). Being high school students, however, it may be rhetorically questioned whether these students had sincerity in their beliefs of Nazi ideals. This question can be drawn when noting that, when a BBC reporter asked college students in a KMT organization (Taiwan’s conservative and nationalist political party) if they had heard of the group, none of them had. In fact, many expressed unwillingness to even learn about the organization due to what they knew about Naziism (8).
Even the group’s website, twnazi.org, only had around 1,500 members when it was still around, which signifies that the group’s prospects of evolving past a ‘fringe movement’, per se, are not high (8). As of 2023 it appears that the group is either completely defunct or has no political traction. There are no articles about the group that appear online from the last decade.
Approach to Resistance
The group tries to take a mainstream approach to political agitation and resistance. They have applied to be recognized as an official political organization but they weren’t successful in this regard, as evidenced by the fact they they do not appear on any list of political parties in Taiwan (9)(10). Other than trying to register as a political party, the group’s main approach is internet-based. It is likely that the group was trying to build a large following online which would then translate into members meeting in real life.
International Relations & Potential Alliances
Being a group that espouses Nazi ideals, the NSA has drawn some attention amongst other ideologically-similar organizations. For example, the group was mentioned in a Stormfront thread in 2007, with favorable comments being said about it (11). Nevertheless, no formal alliance has ever been established. There are recent instances in Taiwan of neo-Nazi activities, such as a group publicly celebrating Hitler’s birthday in 2023, but no formal links to the NSA were established on this occasion (12).
Works Cited (Chicago-style)
(1) - Jerusalem Post Staff. 2007. “Taiwan Students Launch Nazi Group.” The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. March 14, 2007. https://www.jpost.com/International/Taiwan-students-launch-Nazi-group.
(2) - The Associated Press, and Reuters. 2007. “Taiwan Political Activists Admiring Hitler Draw Jewish Protests - Haaretz - Israel News.” Haaretz.com. March 14, 2007. https://web.archive.org/web/20100304123401/http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/837697.html.
(3) - Oung, Angelica. 2007. “Feature: ‘Nazi’ Group Seeks NGO Status - Taipei Times.” Www.taipeitimes.com. March 13, 2007. https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2007/03/13/2003352058.
(4) - CIA. n.d. “Taiwan - the World Factbook.” Www.cia.gov. https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/countries/taiwan/#people-and-society.
(5) - Pan, Jason. 2019. “Migrant Worker Numbers Exceed 706,000 in April - Taipei Times.” Www.taipeitimes.com. June 3, 2019. https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2019/06/03/2003716245.
(6) - Der Spiegel. 2007. “Taiwan’s Nazi Movement: Far-Right Group Blasted by Jewish Organizations.” Der Spiegel, March 14, 2007, sec. International. https://www.spiegel.de/international/world/taiwan-s-nazi-movement-far-right-group-blasted-by-jewish-organizations-a-471686.html.
(8) - BBC. 2007. “分析：台學生納粹組織的思想根源.” News.bbc.co.uk, March 22, 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/chinese/trad/hi/newsid_6480000/newsid_6481600/6481627.stm.
(9) - Wikimedia Foundation. 2021. “List of Political Parties in Taiwan.” Wikipedia. November 21, 2021.
(11) - Stormfront. 2007. “Taiwan’s Nazi Movement.” Stormfront. March 14, 2007. https://www.stormfront.org/forum/t372177/.
(12) - News, Taiwan. 2023. “Group Seen Celebrating Hitler’s Birthday in Central Taiwan | Taiwan News | 2023-04-25 11:14:00.” Taiwan News. April 25, 2023. https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4872782.