Tue, Dec 30, 2003 - Page 8 News List

China planted Hong Kong spy story

By Paul Lin 林保華

The newspaper report is also suspicious. A newspaper might get in trouble if it stole state secrets. It's more plausible that the information was leaked by the Chinese government to accomplish political goals. Since the news report pointed a finger at Chen Shui-bian, the article was obviously published to damage his campaign.

But let's put motives aside for now. The actual content of the news report is also problematic.

First, it would be easy for Beijing to crack a spy ring if the information about missiles that Chen Shui-bian revealed were collected from a high-level Chinese official who is aware of the details of China's missile deployment. But it would be difficult to crack the case if such confidential information were collected from Taiwan's spies in China, as local authorities have to investigate those spy cases by themselves.

The problem is that if there are any high-level Chinese officials spying for Taiwan, they would be more famous than most other officials. But since Beijing was unable to discover such a spy, and was unable to invent one, it could only investigate local cases.

Second, judging from the news report, it would have been impossible for China to crack such a large-scale spy ring, one involving dozens of spies, within half a month of Chen Shui-bian's statements.

Third, when Chen's Shui-bian made his missile statements, he mentioned the deployment of missiles in Jiangxi, Guangdong and Fujian provinces.

But in the news report, the arrests took place in Shandong, Guangdong and Fujian provinces.

How did Jiangxi become Shandong?

Did Taiwan's intelligence agents run away from Jiangxi and go to Shangdong?

Were the arrests of Taiwan's intelligence agents in Shandong also a result of the remarks?

In view of all this, I believe that the Hong Kong news report was published to carry out Beijing's purposes.

Although I do not rule out the possibility that Taiwanese spies were arrested in China, Beijing might have been keeping an eye on them already, and chose to crack down at this precise moment only to make the president look bad.

Thus, as the election draws near, a sensational news report was published to set the president up.

Also, under an authoritarian regime such as China's, there is no guarantee that some of those arrested weren't arrested wrongly, simply for the sake of political gain.

China obviously had the news report published in order to echo the criticisms made by Lin and some other politicians. In addition to affecting the president's election prospects, the Chinese government wished to create chaos in Taiwan.

If the nation's politicians really love Taiwan, they should speak and act very cautiously, and do not do anything that may "sadden their own people and gladden the enemy," as the saying goes.

If they want to avoid being labeled pro-China, they should clearly draw a line between themselves and the Chinese regime. Otherwise, doubts will remain in the minds of the people.

Paul Lin is a commentator based in New York.

TRANSLATED BY EDDY CHANG

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