China fired a shot across the bow of legal activist Chen Guangcheng (陳光誠) on Thursday with a thinly veiled warning about his planned visit to Taiwan next month. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei (洪磊) said that as a Chinese citizen, Chen “should know how to protect the country’s dignity and fulfill his responsibilities as a citizen.”
Hong’s comments showed once again that Beijing’s hubris knows no bounds. It is not Chen that needs to act in a manner that befits China’s dignity; it is Beijing’s mandarins and apparatchiks, whose years-long thuggish harassment of Chen, even after he served a prison sentence on trumped-up charges, forced him to make a headline-grabbing escape from his Shandong Province home in April last year.
It was interesting that the international news agency that reported Hong’s warning went on to say that China has been largely silent on the issue of Chen since he fled from house arrest and took refuge in the US embassy in Beijing. Chinese authorities may have been “silent” on Chen, but their actions toward members of his family after his escape have spoken loudly.
Authorities in his home village have shifted their assaults, both physical and legal, to members of his family — despite Beijing’s pledge to him and the US that his family members would not be harmed.
In December last year, Chen’s nephew, Chen Kegui (陳克貴), was jailed for more than three years for assaulting officials — armed with wooden clubs — who stormed his house looking for his uncle after his escape. Earlier this year Chen Kegui was diagnosed with appendicitis, but prison authorities are refusing to allow him to undergo surgery.
Chen Kegui’s father, Chen Guangfu (陳光福), said two men in their 20s attacked him for several minutes on May 9 as he was heading home to Dongshigu Village. That attack came after weeks of nighttime harassment in which rocks, bottles and dead chickens were thrown at his home. He also said that officials told his wife that they plan to indict her for harboring her son after the clash that landed him in prison.
These actions demonstrate that Beijing’s promises count for nothing. Thugs with sticks have clout, not Beijing’s promises.
Chen Guangcheng’s scheduled arrival on June 23 is also making the authorities in Taipei nervous. His host, the Taiwan Association for China Human Rights, has complained that it is taking months to arrange an entry permit for him. The Mainland Affairs Council is using paperwork as an excuse for the delay. Chinese officials and other tourists have been waved through with far less documentation.
Chen Guangcheng is expected to deliver a speech at the Legislative Yuan and talks at several universities. No word yet on whether President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is willing to meet with him. A snub would be very awkward for Ma, since his former Harvard University mentor Jerome Cohen will be accompanying Chen Guangcheng on his trip and it would be hard for Ma to see Cohen, but not his traveling companion.
Ma has claimed that his administration has frequently voiced its concerns about human rights issues in China and has promised to continue to pay close attention to them. In a ceremony marking World Freedom Day on Jan. 23, he said: “Taiwan’s ultimate goal is to maintain peace in East Asia and to allow people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to pursue the values of freedom and democracy.”
He has also said he hoped freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law could be taken up in cross-strait talks in the near future.
Chen Guangcheng’s visit will provide Ma with the chance to show he is made of more than platitudes and promises. He does not have to worry about angering China because it is a given that Beijing will be upset. Ma should also know how to protect the country’s dignity and fulfill his responsibilities. Actions speak louder than words.
With its passing of Hong Kong’s new National Security Law, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) continues to tighten its noose on Hong Kong. Gone is the broken 1997 promise that Hong Kong would have free, democratic elections by 2017. Gone also is any semblance that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) plays the long game. All the CCP had to do was hold the fort until 2047, when the “one country, two systems” framework would end and Hong Kong would rejoin the “motherland.” It would be a “demonstration-free” event. Instead, with the seemingly benevolent velvet glove off, the CCP has revealed its true iron
US President Donald Trump on Thursday issued executive orders barring Americans from conducting business with WeChat owner Tencent Holdings and ByteDance, the Beijing-based owner of popular video-sharing app TikTok. The orders are to take effect 45 days after they were signed, which is Sept. 20. The orders accuse WeChat of helping the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) review and remove content that it considers to be politically sensitive, and of using fabricated news to benefit itself. The White House has accused TikTok of collecting users’ information, location data and browsing histories, which could be used by the Chinese government, and pose
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) at a ceremony on July 30 officially commissioned China’s BeiDou-3 satellite navigation system. The constellation of satellites, which is now fully operational, was completed six months ahead of schedule. Its deployment means that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is now in possession of an autonomous, global satellite navigation system to rival the US’ GPS, Russia’s Glonass and the EU’s Galileo. Although Chinese officials have repeatedly sought to reassure the world that BeiDou-3 is primarily a civilian and commercial platform, US and European military experts beg to differ. Teresa Hitchens, a senior research associate at the University of
Taiwan’s rampant thesis and dissertation plagiarism has reduced the value of degrees, bringing the academic system’s public credibility to the brink of collapse. Data published on Retraction Watch — a blog that reports on retractions of scientific papers — showed that 73 papers written by Taiwanese researchers were retracted from international journals between 2012 and 2016 due to fake peer reviews, the second-highest in the world behind China. Based on the size of the academic population, Taiwan was the highest in the world, making it academically a pirate nation. Academic fraud in Taiwan can be divided into several types: the listing of coauthors;