Human rights advocates yesterday expressed concern about the possibility of government employees spying on pro-democracy and human rights groups for Beijing and called on the government to implement measures to stop such behavior.
The groups raised their concerns following the arrest late last month of Central Police University associate professor Wu Chang-yu (吳彰裕), who was suspected of gathering information on the activities of Falun Gong, Tibetan support groups and exiled Chinese democracy activists in Taiwan, with the assistance of two police officers, and then delivering that information to the People’s Republic of China government.
Wu is not the first government employee arrested for spying for China. Since 2002, a total of 13 people — including senior military officers, a Presidential Office official, as well as serving and retired intelligence officers — have been arrested for espionage.
The most notable case came in January when former Major General Lo Hsien-che (羅賢哲) of the Army Command Headquarters was found to have handed over classified military information to Beijing.
“We know there are Chinese journalists and academics trying to gather information on Taiwan for their government, but it is shocking to contemplate that people who work for our government could also be spying for China,” Taiwan Friends of Tibet president Chow Mei-li (周美里) told a press conference at the legislature.
“Enhanced cross-strait exchanges mean that we now face even more of a threat from Chinese espionage. I urge the government to establish a special commission to investigate these issues,” Chow said.
Chinese Human Rights Concern Alliance Taiwan president Yang Hsien-hung (楊憲宏) said the number of double agents who had yet to be uncovered was also a matter of concern.
“A lot of people have been arrested for spying for China, but what is of even more concern is how many more spies are out there,” Yang said. “When you spot a cockroach in your house and kill it, do you think that’s the end of the story and that the house is free of vermin? Of course not, if you see one, then there are bound to be a lot more out there.”
The government appears to believe the cases are isolated and it has so far failed to take coordinated action to uncover spies working in public institutions, Yang said.
Kong Shiren (孔識仁), deputy -secretary-general of the Democratic Party of China, a party organized by exiled Chinese pro-democracy activists, shared those concerns.
Taiwanese and the government may be “too relaxed” about the “threat from across the [Taiwan] Strait,” Kong said.
“I understand that, as a democracy, Taiwan’s national security cannot be as strong as that of an authoritarian government, but it should not be too relaxed about such matters either,” Kong said.
“Taiwan must remember that it is not without an enemy — there is a threatening power directly across the Strait and it has its eyes on Taiwan,” Kong said.
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