The man responsible for a shooting at a church in California claims to have been motivated by political grievances related to tensions between China and Taiwan. The man attacked the Geneva Presbyterian Church because it hosts a community of Taiwanese Presbyterians who were meeting at the time of the shooting. China claims that Taiwan is only a temporarily detached piece of its own territory, rather than a sovereign nation.
Church shooter hated Taiwan
68-year-old David Chou attempted to blend in with the congregation before the shooting. He spoke Taiwanese and seemed to belong there so nothing aroused much suspicion.
The meticulously planned shooting was apparently meant as a kind of revenge attack against the Taiwanese in response to the longtime tensions between Taiwan and mainland China.
The details of his grievances have not been elaborated on yet, but Chou is believed to have had no other connection to the church or any of its members.
He intended to kill as many as possible, but the congregants leapt into action when the shooting started and only one person was killed, while several other suffered injuries and are recovering.
Dr. John Cheng was shot and killed while attempting to physically disarm Chou, but his sacrifice allowed the rest of the congregation to disarm and restrain the shooter.
That included a pastor, who threw a chair at Chou and knocked him to the ground. The congregation was gathered to hear a guest sermon from that pastor, who had recently returned from Taiwan.
Inspired by China?
Chou’s car contained notes in which the shooter ranted against Taiwan and the Taiwanese people. Those notes were written in Mandarin, which is the dominant language in mainland China.
There have been conflicting reports on where Chou was born; he is a U.S. citizen, but he was born either in China or in Taiwan and was apparently obsessed with seeing China take control of Taiwan.
Taiwanese politicians and media suggested that Beijing’s hatred for Taiwanese independence had driven Chou’s hatred for the Taiwanese people.
Asked about its alleged role in the shooting, the Chinese government shrugged off the connection and said “We hope the U.S. government will take effective measures to resolve the worsening gun violence issue at home.”
Chou’s family reportedly moved to Taiwan after the Chinese Communist Party took power. The island was the last place still in the hands of Chinese anti-communists but locals and newcomers frequently clashed.
The shooter is believed to have embraced a fanatically anti-Taiwan position in part because he felt that he was poorly treated during his childhood on the island.