Beijing yesterday rejected Taiwan’s protest over Cambodia handing over Taiwanese fraud suspects to Chinese authorities, saying for the first time that the cross-strait communications mechanism “has been suspended” since the new government took office in Taipei last month.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson An Fengshan (安峰山) made the remark while answering reporters’ questions about Taipei’s protest over Cambodia’s decision to accept Beijing’s demand and send Taiwanese telecommunications fraud suspects to China for prosecution.
The mechanism for contact and communication between China and Taiwan “has been suspended” since May 20, as Taipei has not recognized the so-called “1992 consensus,” which he said is the foundation for cross-strait relations that embodies the “one China” principle.
Beijing has repeatedly said that the new government of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) must accept the “1992 consensus” for what it called the warm bilateral ties over the past eight years to continue.
The “1992 consensus” refers to a tacit understanding reached during cross-strait talks in 1992 that both Taiwan and China acknowledge that there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what that means. In 2006, former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) admitted he made up the term in 2000, before the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) handed power to the Democratic Progressive Party.
Efforts to fight telecom fraud and to protect the rights of victims have won the support of people in both China and Taiwan, An said.
He said that there were 25 Taiwanese in the group of 39 suspects sent to China on Friday, although earlier reports indicated that the group sent to Wenzhou in Zhejiang Province included 18 Taiwanese.
An’s comments came after the Mainland Affairs Council issued a statement on Friday voicing regret and protesting China’s failure to respect the appeal by Taiwan that no more Taiwanese suspects should be sent to China until the two sides can work out a set of principles on how to handle such issues.
Taipei has come under domestic pressure and has tried to prevent Taiwanese arrested overseas from being deported to China, although that pressure has eased after revelations that tens of thousands of Taiwanese, many of whom operate abroad to avoid detection, might be engaging in fraud targeting not only Chinese, but Taiwanese as well.
Dozens of Taiwanese fraud suspects were extradited from Kenya to China through Malaysia earlier this year, triggering an angry response.
As of press time last night, no response was available from the Mainland Affairs Council on An’s remarks.
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