China's secretive state security police have set up a special task force to clamp down on students and political dissidents in the run-up to the 15th anniversary of the June 4 Tiananmen Square massacre, sources said yesterday. \n"The universities are under strict control and there are several kinds of restrictions and regulations dealing with the anniver-sary," a Beijing academic said. \n"For the universities, there is a special organ run by the State Security Ministry. They are responsible for a wide range of monitoring in the university district," said the academic, who has been warned not to speak with foreign media. \nThe 1989 massacre in the streets of Beijing killed hundreds, some say more than a thousand, unarmed students and citizens and has remained a highly sensitive topic, with students on the capital's campuses strongly discouraged from discussing the issue, he said. \n"The students don't dare to speak about this because they know they will get in trouble. They can discuss these things in an abstract way, but specific discussion will only lead to trouble," the academic said. \nWhile the security police are monitoring Beijing campuses, they have also placed a group of known dissidents under house arrest or strict surveillance. \nThe 70-year-old leader of the Tiananmen Mothers, Ding Zilin, whose son was killed in the 1989 massacre, has been put under surveillance and told not to accept visitors in the lead-up to the anniversary. \nShe is followed by police even when she leaves her home to buy food and daily necessities. \nDing's 15-year effort demanding the Chinese government give a full accounting of the massacre and find out who was responsible for ordering the military to fire on unarmed civilians has led to her nomination for this year's Nobel Peace Prize. \nOther members of her grouping, like Huang Jinping, whose husband was shot and killed in the crackdown, are also facing similar police harassment. \nLeading dissidents and social critics like Bao Tong (鮑彤), Liu Xiaobo, Hu Jia and Jiang Qisheng are all under police surveillance, they told reporters in recent days. \nTheir visits and meetings with others have been recorded and their phones tapped since the National People's Congress met in March. \n"I don't think it is a very good idea to come and visit me right now," Liu said. "It's probably better to wait until after June 4." \nThe police harassment has been condemned by the US and human rights groups, who have blasted as ineffective new constitutional amendments adopted in March that aim to safeguard human rights. \n"We oppose any efforts to limit freedom of speech and urge China not to restrict its citizens from engaging in debate on important and sensitive issues of public interest," US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said on Thursday. \nBoucher said Washington was particularly troubled by reports indicating that some actions had been taken to prevent Chinese citizens from meeting with US officials.
‘UNACCEPTABLE’: The foreign ministry said that China’s behavior broke international law, while Johnny Chiang was worried such balloons could be used against Taiwan A suspected Chinese surveillance balloon flying over the US was yesterday condemned by officials in Taipei and sparked calls for the government to plan countermeasures. The Pentagon on Thursday said it had detected a Chinese surveillance balloon flying over the country. Beijing has said the balloon is a civilian meteorological device that drifted into US territory after being blown off course. The National Security Bureau and Ministry of National Defense should investigate whether surveillance balloons could be used against Taiwan and prepare to respond to such acts, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s postponement
INTELLIGENCE VALUE: While the US was working on recovering the balloon’s remains, China said that it reserved ‘the right to make ... necessary responses’ US President Joe Biden’s administration lauded the Pentagon for shooting down an alleged Chinese spy balloon off the US Atlantic coast on Saturday, but China angrily voiced its “strong dissatisfaction” at the move, and said it might make “necessary responses.” The craft spent several days flying over North America before it was targeted off the coast of the southeastern state of South Carolina with a missile fired from an F-22 plane, Pentagon officials said. It fell into relatively shallow water just 14m deep. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin called the operation a “deliberate and lawful action” that came in response to China’s
RISK FACTOR: ASEAN issued a statement saying the cross-strait situation ‘could lead to miscalculation,’ but it is willing to facilitate dialogue to ensure stability in the region The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday welcomed a joint statement by ASEAN leaders voicing concerns that the situation across the Taiwan Strait could affect regional stability. The statement was issued after the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat ended on Saturday in Jakarta. It was the first major meeting since Indonesia assumed chairmanship of ASEAN this year. Attendees of the meeting reiterated their determination to promote “sustainable peace, security, stability, and prosperity within and beyond the region,” the statement said. They expressed concerns about developments across the Taiwan Strait and their “implications on regional stability,” the statement said. The cross-strait situation “could lead to miscalculation, serious
THINK TANK VISIT: The former US Indo-Pacific official said that a capture of Taiwan’s outlying islands by China rather than a large-scale attack is a grave security concern The US and Taiwan can deepen their relations on many fronts, former head of the US Indo-Pacific Command Philip Davidson said yesterday while visiting President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) at the Presidential Office. Davidson is leading a six-member delegation from the National Bureau of Asian Research, a US-based think tank. They arrived on Monday and are scheduled to depart tomorrow. Tsai met with the delegation yesterday morning, welcoming the organization on its first visit to Taiwan since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the office said in a statement. She thanked Davidson, a retired admiral, for paying close attention to matters regarding the Taiwan