Sun, Aug 24, 2014 - Page 1 News List

‘Spy’ was forced to resign, letter implies

WHOLE TRUTH?The former deputy minister accused of being a spy tried to vindicate himself in a letter to the president last weekend, showing that he knew of the charges

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

The Presidential Office confirmed yesterday that the president received a letter from former Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) deputy minister Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀) defending himself against an accusation that he had leaked national secrets, before Chang issued a statement on Sunday last week that suggested he had been forced to resign.

Presidential Office spokesperson Ma Wei-kuo (馬瑋國) said that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had indeed received a letter from Chang, but “as the case has now been put under judicial investigation, the office would not comment on the matter.”

The news about the letter initially came to public attention in the same way many rumors about Chang have spread in the past week — from unnamed sources passing information to the media; this time it was to the Chinese-language Apple Daily.

The paper quoted “a person who knows about the inside information” as saying that Chang was lying when he said he was unclear of the reason he was asked to step down.

Chang was said to have sent a letter to Ma on the morning of Aug. 17, before he issued a statement to the public intimating that he was forced to resign rather than quitting for “family reasons,” as the Executive Yuan said on Aug. 16.

In the letter, according to the anonymous person quoted by the Apple Daily, Chang wrote that MAC Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) told him that he was suspected of leaking information to China when they met on Aug. 14.

Chang said on Thursday that Wang had not told him about the suspicion when Wang asked him to leave the post and offered him a chairman’s role at a state-run company, and nodded when asked whether his assertion meant Wang was lying.

The unnamed person was quoted as saying that the president, not happy about Chang’s conspicuous moves, turned the letter over to the MAC to “restore the truth,” and the MAC later handed the letter to the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office.

The Apple Daily also reported on Friday that the tip-off accusing Chang of leaking information came from a political heavyweight with European and US training.

The Chinese-language United Daily News said an “informed person from the top echelon” has “seriously repudiated the rumor.”

The unnamed official was quoted as saying that the rumormonger had “evil intentions,” as the rumor intended to drag the US into the issue, which would then become a show pitting the US against China.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) on Friday asked Taiwanese media “not to make irresponsible and untrue guesses, lest the cross-strait relationship be negatively impacted.”

Meanwhile, the Global Times, an offshoot of the Chinese Communist Party’s flagship paper the People’s Daily, said on Friday in its editorial that it is a “far-fetched” allegation calling the top representative for cross-strait negotiation “a red spy.”

The paper cited several Chinese academics’ opinions about the controversy, who all believed that “the crisis was jointly caused by Ma Ying-jeou’s lack of internal control, Chang’s strong personality and Taiwan’s chaotic political environment,” and disagreed with the “red spy” accusation.

“Even if China was to have spies in Taiwan,” the editorial said light-heartedly, “Chang would not be a fitting selection because his public values — Chang’s anti-Taiwanese-independence stance and enthusiasm for the cross-strait ‘small three links’ — are higher than his going undercover.”

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