China has rejected a visa application by a US congressional commission to visit the mainland next week on official business, despite the group's official sanction by the State Department and Congress, and an invitation by the US ambassador to Beijing Clark Randt, in what some observers view as a major Chinese slap to Washington, the Taipei Times has learned.
\nMembers of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which has been critical of many of Beijing's actions, had applied for visas under their official passports issued by the State Department to meet with US and Chinese officials in Beijing as part of the commission's preparation for a biannual report on US-China relations due to be issued this spring.
\nBut the authorities in Beijing on Wednesday refused to grant the visas, insisting the group travel on tourist visas under conditions that could have landed the members of the commission in Chinese prisons, a commission member said. The commission refused, and the trip was scrubbed.
\nThe commission still plans to visit Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong, and will be in Taipei during the presidential election, sources say.
\nIt would have been the commission's second trip to China. The first, in 2002, came before the commission issued its first report on China's economic, military and political situation, which was highly critical of China's military buildup and other activities.
\nIt is uncertain why China took such a hard line toward the second trip, commission members say. It might be that the Beijing authorities simply do not like the commission and what it has been saying and doing.
\nThe denial of the visas comes to light in the wake of the appearance of Hong Kong's leading pro-democracy advocate, Martin Lee (
The Czech Republic’s Senate on Wednesday passed a resolution that supports a possible visit by the senate president to Taiwan. The resolution, initiated by Czech Senator Pavel Fischer, was passed with 50 votes in favor, one against and one abstention. The resolution blasts Beijing for having its Prague embassy send a letter to former Czech Senate president Jaroslav Kubera earlier this year threatening repercussions for Czech businesses if he visited Taiwan. The resolution shows the Senate’s support for a visit to Taiwan by Senate President Milos Vystrcil, accompanied by Czech business representatives, as the visit would be in the diplomatic long-term interests
The government and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday both spoke out against plans by the Chinese government to enact a national security law in Hong Kong. Chinese officials yesterday confirmed that the National People’s Congress would review a bill “on establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to safeguard national security.” The Presidential Office said that the announcement was evidence that the “one country, two systems” framework fundamentally clashes with democratic freedoms. The de-escalation of tensions between Hong Kong and Beijing relies on the Chinese government’s willingness to respond to Hong Kongers’ demands,
STRONGER DEFENSES: The announcement could be considered tacit US support for the nation’s indigenous arms manufacturing program, Joseph Wu told lawmakers Just hours after President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) inauguration on Wednesday, the US Department of State’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced in Washington the possible sale of 18 MK-48 Heavy Weight Torpedoes to Taiwan. Reacting to the announcement, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday told a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee that the ministry applauded the US move, which would help to uphold the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA). The TRA states that the US should “provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character … to maintain the capacity of the US to resist any resort
NPP WARNING: The NPP’s chairman said that a security law proposed by Beijing means it has renounced its promise to maintain ‘one country, two systems’ in HK The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) yesterday proposed changing the law to provide protection for those seeking political asylum. China at the opening of the National People’s Congress in Beijing on Thursday introduced a draft security law for Hong Kong to ban treason, subversion and sedition, with a review expected next week. TPP caucus whip Jang Chyi-lu (張其祿) said that the party is concerned about democracy advocates in Hong Kong and has taken action to support them. The party has proposed an amendment to Article 18 of the Act Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau (香港澳門關係條例), which stipulates that the government can offer