Thu, Nov 14, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Shih arrested for ‘national security reasons’: Beijing

By Chung Li-hua and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang speaks at a regular news conference in Beijing yesterday.

Photo: screen grab from the Internet

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) yesterday confirmed that a former National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) professor who went missing last year while visiting China had been detained for “national security reasons.”

Shih Cheng-ping (施正屏), who worked at the school’s Graduate Institute of International Human Resource Development, is being held in Beijing, where authorities are investigating him “on suspicion of endangering national security,” TAO spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) told a regular news conference in Beijing.

“We have always followed the law in striking down criminal activity that endangers national security,” Ma said.

Asked if there were any more details about Shih’s detention, as well as those of Southern Taiwan Union of Cross-strait Relations Associations chairman Tsai Chin-shu (蔡金樹) and Taiwan United Nations Alliance member Morrison Lee (李孟居), Ma said that “all three cases involve people who have engaged in activity that endangered national security,” but did not provide specifics.

Tsai was detained in July last year while awaiting a connecting flight in Xiamen, Shih was detained the following month, and Lee was detained in August this year while crossing the border between Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

Lee had sent photographs of Chinese paramilitary police amassing on the Hong Kong-Shenzhen border to Fangliao Township (枋寮) Mayor Archer Chen (陳亞麟), but Chinese authorities have not confirmed whether this was the reason for his arrest.

“Striking at threats to national security is normal administrative behavior. It is not about there being ‘lots of cases in a short time,’ or about this being ‘sudden or abrupt,’” Ma said.

Shih, 56, last year became chief economist at China’s Huaxia Group (華夏集團) after retiring from NTNU, and had frequently traveled to China.

He was considered to be a pro-localization member of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), and served as agriculture and trade representative to the US under former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

After President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office, Shih wrote editorials for Want Want China Times Media Group (旺旺中時集團), in which he was often critical of Tsai.

There have been 149 Taiwanese reported missing after traveling to China, of which 48 cases remain unresolved, Straits Exchange Foundation data showed.

Nineteen people have returned safely since September, after initially losing contact with their relatives, the foundation said.

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