Mon, Aug 27, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Bruce Chung tells of detention hell

Taiwanese Falun Gong practitioner Bruce Chung returned to Taiwan on Aug. 11 after being detained for 54 days by Chinese authorities. He said in a recent interview with Tzou Jiing-wen, a staff reporter with the ‘Liberty Times’ (sister paper of the ‘Taipei Times’) that the personal safety of Taiwanese should be the government’s binding, guiding principle and that China must be informed of the Taiwanese government’s resolve on the issue. This is part two of a two-part interview

Bruce Chung, the Taiwanese Falun Gong follower who was detained in China, speaks at a press conference in Taipei on Aug. 13.

Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times

Liberty Times: Your forced detention highlights the seriousness of the issue of personal safety. Do you have any suggestions you would like to make to the government concerning the issue?

Bruce Chung (鍾鼎邦): I am a very lucky man in that I was able to return safely. My luck primarily stems from the public’s concern over the issue, and the government had to consider the public’s perception of it after the media started reporting the incident.

I knew of a Taiwanese businessman who was unable to return to Taiwan because of tax issues in China. He spent a lot of money and finally settled down in China after getting medical parole, but he has been unable to return to Taiwan.

The laws in China are of a very low standard when it comes to safeguarding human rights, and it is because of this that there are some regulations in place that more democratic societies can’t accept, and it is these regulations that they have said I violated.

However, the least the Taiwanese government could have done after learning of the incident was to strongly convey to China what the Taiwanese standards for democracy and human rights are.

Second, these types of issues must hold sufficient weight with the government so that systematic measures can be taken once someone is detained. The government must let the family members of the victim know that the government cares and will continue to keep a close tab on the issue.

The government should also make the first move, inviting all victims of such incidents to come to the government and register their names so the government can track the issues for them.

People who have friends or family in China doing business knows that if anything happens to them in China, it is useless to go to the Taiwanese government because the government cannot give them any help.

The only thing Taiwanese businesspeople in China can do is establish good relations with people and grease the right palms. Because the Chinese agencies know that this is the only way Taiwanese businesspeople work, they will make up criminal charges — such as narcotics and firearms trafficking or taxation — to get money.

There are a lot of people in the Chinese government who count on the fact that as Taiwanese, you try to smooth things over and they exploit you that way. The government should have a specific stance on this issue showing that it is concerned for the personal safety of its citizens in China.

This has nothing to do with political parties, but is rather a principle that governments must adhere to, and it is clear from my example that Taiwan’s government has the backing of its people.

LT: The media is less than understanding toward the president and his administration for its weak public stance on this issue. Has the government been more supportive of your family in private?

Chung: That’s a very vague question, but if it’s from the range of zero to one, then I would say that the government’s support to my family was less than 0.5. The Straits Exchange Foundation stated its concern over the matter, but has it actually conveyed to China a firm stance on protecting Taiwanese? Has it explained to China the standards of Taiwan’s human rights? This I don’t know.

LT: From your personal experience, should the government take a higher-profile stance on the issue, or remain low profile?

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