Sun, Aug 12, 2012 - Page 1 News List

Bruce Chung released by China

FREE AT LAST:The Falun Gong practitioner, whose religion is outlawed in China, was set free, which MAC officials said indicated that cross-strait legal pacts are effective

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Bruce Chung, center, is joined by family and staff from the Straits Exchange Foundation and the National Immigration Agency at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Taiwanese Falun Gong practitioner Bruce Chung (鍾鼎邦) has been released by Chinese authorities after being detained for more than 50 days. He returned to Taiwan yesterday morning, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said.

MAC Chairperson Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) said the council instructed the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) to escort Chung and his family back to his home in Hsinchu County. According to SEF spokesman Maa Shaw-chang (馬紹章), Chung took a flight from Nanchang Airport in Jiangxi Province and arrived in Taiwan at about 10am.

Chung had been held in China since June 18 after making a trip to Yongkang City in Jiangxi Province. According to Xinhua news agency, Chung was arrested for activities that allegedly compromised China’s national security.

The MAC defended the government’s efforts in negotiating with China for Chung’s release and said the release was an example of the Agreement on Joint Cross-Strait Crime-Fighting and Mutual Judicial Assistance at work.

“The two sides set up a platform under the agreement to address related issues and the Chung case shows that the agreement brings positive effects,” said MAC Deputy Minister Liu Te-shun (劉德勳).

Chung’s release came days after China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) and a Chinese delegation wrapped up a three-day trip in Taipei, returning to China on Friday.

Chen and SEF Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) held an eighth round of cross-strait talks and signed the cross-strait investment protection agreement on Thursday in Taipei. Falun Gong and several civil groups launched a series of protests during the annual cross-strait talks and urged China to respect human rights and release Chung.

Chen declined to comment on the issue. The MAC and SEF also refused to confirm whether the Chung case was discussed during the cross-strait talks, but insisted that the government has been communicating with China in a bid to resolve the case.

Presidential Office Spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi (范姜泰基) said yesterday that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was relieved to learn about Chung’s release and thanked the MAC and SEF for their efforts to communicate with China about Chung’s release.

Chung’s daughter Chung Ai (鍾愛) yesterday said the whole family was excited about her father’s release and called for the public to give him some time before discussing the situation.

According to Minister of Justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫), China has promised to hand over legal documents on its investigations concerning Bruce Chung to the ministry under the Agreement on Joint Cross-Strait Crime-Fighting and Mutual Judicial Assistance.

Commenting on the matter, former Democratic Progressive Party chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said although Bruce Chung had been released, the government should listen to people’s demands that the human rights, safety and property of Taiwanese in China should be better protected.

Taiwan Solidarity Union Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) said that there are still many Taiwanese nationals being illegally detained by Chinese authorities. The government must take responsibility for enhancing Taiwanese’s safety in China, he added.

Additional reporting by Rich Chang

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