Tue, Dec 30, 2003 - Page 8 News List

China planted Hong Kong spy story

By Paul Lin 林保華

On Nov. 30, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) specified the locations in Jiangxi (江西), Guangdong (廣東) and Fujian (福建) provinces where China has deployed 496 ballistic missiles that are aimed at Taiwan.

He did this at a campaign rally to explain the necessity of holding an anti-missile referendum. But his statements were strongly criticized by People First Party (PFP) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方), who said that Beijing would use the confidential information leaked by Chen to search for and arrest Taiwan's intelligence agents in China.

On Dec. 19, the media reported that retired Major-General Chen Hu-men (陳虎門) -- a former intelligence official at the National Security Bureau (國安局) -- had said that many of the nation's intelligence agents in China, including his former subordinates and old friends, had suddenly disappeared after the president's statement on missiles.

Chen Hu-men turned for help to independent Legislator Sisy Chen (陳文茜), making plans with her to establish a rescue group for Taiwan's many intelligence agents who had allegedly disappeared in China after the "duds" (啞巴彈) statement by former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) -- Lee revealed during the 1996 missile crisis that the missiles China had fired into the Taiwan Strait were blanks -- or after Chen's "496 missiles" statement.

The Hong Kong-based Ming Pao (明報) reported on Dec. 22 that "the newspaper has confirmed through various sources that China's national security agencies have recently strengthened their crackdown on people who spy for Taiwan. They smashed a large-scale Taiwanese spy ring in mid-December. A total of 21 Taiwanese and 15 Chinese were arrested."

The newspaper reported that this was the biggest Taiwanese spy ring Beijing had uncovered in recent years, and those involved had for years been stealing secret information about China's missile deployments. The paper also reported that, according to sources, Beijing was able to crack the case because the president had revealed the specific number and locations of China's missiles aimed at the nation. As a result, the paper said, China's national security agencies had arrested many people who had spied for Taiwan in Shandong (山東), Guangdong and Fujian provinces.

The words and actions of Lin, Chen Hu-men and Ming Pao are closely related.

On the surface, Lin's criticism seems to be quite reasonable, and might make one wonder if Chen Shui-bian is qualified to be president after leaking state secrets. However, if we examine the situation more carefully, we realize that in fact Beijing is trying to help the alliance of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the PFP in the upcoming election.

Let's talk about Chen Hu-men. I'm sure that he has contributed to Taiwan's national security in the past, but now that he is retired he should not interfere with security affairs. Problems concerning the nation's intelligence agents should be handled by the authorities in charge. Chen Hu-men should speak directly to the authorities if he feels they have made mistakes, instead of recklessly making confidential information public. Even if he wants to rescue intelligence agents, he should do so secretly.

How could he go to Sisy Chen and cause an uproar? And wasn't he divulging secret information to China? Such behavior does not square with the behavior expected of a senior intelligence official. It is unacceptable if he placed a political party's interest above the nation's interest by attacking a candidate in the election.

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