Civic IDEA statement – Regarding the absurd uproar by the Georgian Dream about the “unveiling of the Taiwan agents” operation

We have chosen the name Civic IDEA – Civic Initiative for Democratic, Euro- Atlantic Choice, for a reason. All our projects and activities align with the objectives outlined in this title and the democratic, Euro-Atlantic aspirations of the Georgian people. Therefore, we scrutinize and assess the government’s actions that appear to distance the country from the West and align it more closely with Russia.

What we say and how the government responds:

Over the past seven years, we have consistently brought to light the government’s shady undertakings, substantiating claims of corruption with concrete facts and documents while unveiling the falsehoods and misinformation propagated by them.

1. All Chinese companies, to which the government of Georgia is granting multi- million dollar contracts, have a damaged reputation worldwide and can be found on the blacklists of various IFIs and our partner countries.The government alleges our reports are anti-state, yet it offers no response regarding engaging in contracts with sanctioned companies—just an attempt to deflect by merely sewing labels.

4. Additionally, over the course of five years, we have consistently raised concerns regarding the contractors selected for the construction of the Rikoti Bypass. We have published several reports where we have described and substantiated the “business fraud” by these companies in different countries. We sought clarification on the rationale behind the authorities’ confidence that these contractors would conduct their work in Georgia with integrity and professionalism despite facing lawsuits and disputes on nearly every continent. Unfortunately, our warnings went unheard; instead, we were labeled as “enemies” and deemed “anti-state elements who do not have a motherland.”

Why did the speaker of the parliament and the parliamentary majority get angry? Why now, in January 2024, when Civic IDEA has been exposing the alleged corrupt ties between the government and Chinese companies, along with the Prime Minister’s political corruption, for seven years?

There is a simple answer to this question – Anaklia Deep Sea Port.

It appears that the government is currently working on the decision to grant the Anaklia port tender to the Chinese company. Consequently, they are well aware of the anticipated public discontent stemming from such a choice and, in their view, are taking preemptive measures. The Georgian Dream acknowledges that Civic IDEA stands as the sole organization in the country dedicated to combating strategic corruption and safeguarding the nation’s strategic interests for the past seven years. Consequently, they anticipate the most informed and justified criticism from us. Our perspectives are not only heard and read domestically but also resonate with our Western partners. Hence, the GD members are laying the groundwork to dismiss our criticism by labeling us “Taiwan lobbyists or agents” rather than providing substantive arguments in response.

Here we must state unequivocally:

– Surprisingly enough, we are not the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, therefore we do not express a position on the recognition or non-recognition of any state;

– Thus neither Civic IDEA nor Tinatin Khidasheli has ever made a statement about the recognition of Taiwan’s independence;

– Surprisingly enough, we no longer at the Ministry of Defense either, so any insinuation that Tinatin Khidasheli had access to secret documents eight years ago (incidentally unrelated to Taiwan or the PRC, as they were not among the ministry’s partners at that time) is completely irrelevant to our current activities. Bringing up this topic out of context is a standard propaganda tactic.

– We are also engaged in educational activities and can educate interested MPs on the difference between “one China policy” and “one China principle”, positions and recognitions aired by Georgia’s western partners;

– Yes, Civic IDEA has partnership relations with organizations in Taiwan. Neither Imedi TV nor Rustavi 2 discovered this information. It is completely open and available on our website. Also, on our webpage, you will read that the partners of the international conference, which we hosted in Tbilisi in October 2023 and was attended by leading experts from more than 30 countries, were the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, together with the NATO Contact-Point Embassies in Georgia, the Embassy of Great Britain, the Embassy of Poland, the Visegrad Fund, FNF and NED.

– Furthermore, our webpage contains details about our visits to Taiwan and the panel discussions we conducted there. A more attentive read of our page would reveal that December 2023 was not our only or first visit to Taiwan.

– Finally, also on our page, you would have seen that we are participating in a very large international project run by our Taiwanese partner DTL, where Civic IDEA, leveraging the reputation and professionalism of its experts, was tasked to conduct research and analysis of the PRC activities in 13 countries across the globe.

– Finally, the statement “Taiwan is financing you” is incorrect. Unlike countries such as the Netherlands, Norway, the UK, and the USA, where Civic IDEA has received direct funding from their respective governments, we have never received financial support from the Taiwanese state. Our collaborations have been with private, independent organizations in Taiwan, and we genuinely anticipate that this partnership will endure in the future. If our proposed initiatives receive support and approval again, these organizations will allocate funding accordingly.