Two former air force officers who defected to China in the 1980s are apparently no more eager to return to Taiwan even after a law change requiring military courts to hand over their cases to civilian courts.
Huang Chih-cheng (黃植誠), 62, and Lin Hsien-shun (林賢順), 61, are both now members of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
Speaking on Monday during the second meeting of the 12th CPPCC in Beijing, Huang said he is aware of the military justice reform in Taiwan, but said ambiguously that he would “respect Taiwan’s judicial system.”
“It is not the right time” to return to his birthplace, he added.
Lin said that he would almost certainly not be allowed to return without being put on trial.
“Not even Justin Lin (林毅夫) can return to Taiwan,” he said, referring to the former chief economist and vice president of the World Bank, who famously defected to China with sensitive materials in 1979 by swimming from Kinmen County, where he had been serving as an army officer.
In May 2002, Lin filed an application from Beijing to return to Taiwan to attend his father’s funeral. Taiwanese authorities approved his application, but warned that he could face legal consequences if he returned. Lin decided not to risk detention and did not attend his father’s funeral.
Lin Hsien-shun, who is now an officer in the Chinese air force, said it is impossible for him to return to Taiwan if Justin Lin, who has made achievements in civilian circles since leaving the army, is not welcome.
The Kinmen branch of Taiwan’s Fujian High Court has kept Justin Lin on the wanted list since taking over his case from a military court.
Huang flew to China in 1981 in an F-5 jet, while Lin Hsien-shun did the same in an F-5E in 1989.