Fri, Aug 22, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Accusations, defenses fly in case of alleged spying

MIXED RESPONSE:While Chang Hsien-yao maintained that he did not know what secrets he had allegedly leaked, others accused the MAC of ‘acting like the mafia’

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Following a press conference yesterday by former Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) deputy minister Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀) responding to allegations that he leaked national secrets to China, most politicians and political parties have responded by either being critical of the government’s handling of the case or showing sympathy to the former deputy minister.

“If the government suspects that Chang is involved in leaking classified information [to China], it should first launch a probe, then make a formal announcement after getting some concrete evidence, instead of releasing information now when nothing is clear yet,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) said yesterday. “Upset about the accusation, Chang repeatedly strikes back, and the government counterstrikes with more accusations — this is only causing harm to the government itself.”

“After all, Chang was appointed by the president — shouldn’t the president also share some responsibility as well?” he added.

The People First Party (PFP), with which Chang was affiliated from 2000 to 2012, also lashed out at the government with a press statement, asking the government to stop making groundless accusations without concrete evidence.

“[Government officials] accuse Chang of leaking classified information and spying, which is the same as accusing the Chinese government of buying off a negotiator from our side and spying, and this is a serious humiliation to the other side in a negotiation,” the statement said. “It causes severe harm to cross-strait relations, as well as mutual trust and mutual respect.”

The statement then called on the government to stop making accusations, and panned it for making such accusations before starting an official investigation.

PFP Deputy Secretary-General Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) panned the government for “acting like the mafia.”

“Some people in the MAC may not like Chang because of his performance and try to get rid of him,” Liu said. “However, this is not the way that you should treat a government official appointed by the president — only the mafia would wipe someone out like this.”

Liu warned that the way the government handles the issue could break the mutual trust between Taiwan and China, and could make the public doubtful about cross-strait agreements signed in the past.

While saying that he would trust the judiciary to take care of the dispute, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chi Kuo-tung (紀國棟) said he is also worried that the problem may increase public distrust of past cross-strait agreements.

However, another KMT Legislator, Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾), said it was inappropriate for MAC Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) to ask Chang to resign before speaking to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), “because Chang was appointed by the president.”

“Moreover, how could Wang try to arrange another job for Chang if he is really a spy?” Lo asked.

DPP Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女), on the other hand, called on the government to suspend all ongoing cross-strait negotiations immediately.

“The government promised us that cross-strait talks could be halted if there are national security concerns,” Yu said. “Well, it’s time for the ‘brake’ mechanism to come in as one of the top negotiators now is suspected of being a spy for China.”

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