Sat, Sep 14, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Academic held in China for 420 days

‘AS BLUE AS CAN BE’:Tsai Chin-shu was allegedly detained by Chinese state security officers on July 22 last year while awaiting a connecting flight in Xiamen

By Ko Yu-hao and Chung Li-hua  /  Staff reporters

The Straits Exchange Foundation offices are pictured in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chung Li-hua, Taipei Times

A veteran supporter of cross-strait exchanges has been arbitrarily detained in China for 420 days, sources told the Liberty Times (the sister newspaper of the Taipei Times) yesterday.

The case was revealed by Shih Chien University chair professor Chiang Min-chin (江岷欽) on Jaw Shaw-kong’s (趙少康) political talk show on Thursday evening, when he said that Southern Taiwan Union of Cross-strait Relations Associations chairman Tsai Chin-shu (蔡金樹) is being detained at a prison in China’s Fujian Province.

Tsai is allegedly being held on charges relating to state security, Chiang said, citing sources in China.

After investigating the claim, the Liberty Times reported that Tsai has been in detention for 420 days.

Sources with knowledge of the matter said that Tsai was allegedly detained by state security officers on July 22 last year while awaiting a connecting flight in Xiamen.

The sources added that they had not been able to obtain information about Tsai’s situation other than that he is “safe.”

The Straits Exchange Foundation yesterday said that Tsai’s family members had contacted the foundation for help in August last year and that it immediately sent a letter to its Chinese counterpart, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, to inquire about Tsai’s whereabouts, but that it has not received any concrete response.

Chiang said that Tsai, who he has known since they were students together, is “as blue as can be,” referring to his support for the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

“However, he has been jailed all the same. Whether you are in the pan-blue or pan-green camp, everyone is in danger amid the backsliding in cross-strait relations and lack of mutual judicial assistance,” Chiang said.

Tsai, 60, holds a master’s degree in political science from National Sun Yat-sen University and a doctorate from Xiamen University’s Graduate Institute for Taiwan Studies.

He is also chairman of the Kaohsiung Association for Research on Cross-Strait Relations and taught at the Fortune Institute of Technology, among other schools.

He has been promoting cross-strait exchanges for more than 20 years.

Members of Tsai’s family have said they hope that the government would help bring him back to Taiwan.

Meanwhile, the family of Morrison Lee (李孟居) yesterday published an open letter, in which they expressed the hope that Chinese authorities would soon complete their investigation against him so that he could return home.

Lee, 44, went missing in Shenzhen after attending an Aug. 18 anti-extradition bill rally in Hong Kong.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office on Wednesday confirmed that Lee is under investigation on suspicion of engaging in criminal activity harmful to national security.

The letter said that the family would send a lawyer to visit Lee on their behalf to learn about the charges he is facing.

It also expressed the hope that family members could visit Lee and urged the Chinese authorities to grant the request.

The family said it had not asked any individual or political party to speak about the case on its behalf and that media reports about the case do not represent their stance on the matter.

The family said that it did not want “political factors” making Lee’s situation any more difficult.

Additional reporting by CNA

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