Retired Taiwanese professor Shih Cheng-ping (施正屏) has reportedly been imprisoned in Beijing for national security reasons after disappearing in China in August last year, members of his family said.
Shih, who in February last year retired from National Taiwan Normal University’s Graduate Institute of International Human Resource Development, became chief economist for China’s Huaxia Group (華夏集團) and frequently traveled between Taiwan and China.
He was a member of a prolocalization group within the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and served as the agriculture and trade representative to the US under former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).
An acquaintance of Shih said that Shih last contacted him on the Line messaging app in July last year and that Shih’s Facebook page stopped being updated in the same month.
Asked about Shih’s whereabouts, his wife simply said that he had gone on a trip, the source said.
When Shih did not attend his daughter’s spring graduation in the US, people began to worry, because Shih was especially fond of his daughter, the source said.
Family members had refused to contact the Straits Exchange Foundation, but when the foundation called to inquire about Shih’s status, they said that he was conducting research in China, the source said.
Although Shih’s friends had their own opinions about how his family should handle the situation, they deferred to the family, the source added.
Private inquiries were made through business acquaintances in China, and the military and national security agencies in Beijing responded that Shih is being held in Beijing for national security reasons, the source said, adding that they told him: “It is best not to poke around too much about Shih’s detention.”
The source said he believed that Shih disappeared because of two opinion pieces that he wrote for the Chinese-language China Times, in which he talked about People’s Liberation Army (PLA) generals being targeted for shuanggui (雙規), an abolished internal process the CCP’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection used to discipline party members.
As China had not sent notification of any detention, the Mainland Affairs Council yesterday said that inquiries have been made through Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau.
The foundation yesterday said it would continue to monitor the case and that it would provide Shih’s family members with any needed assistance.
In September, Shih Chien University chair professor Chiang Min-chin (江岷欽) said on Jaw Shaw-kong’s (趙少康) political talk show that Southern Taiwan Union of Cross-strait Relations Associations chairman Tsai Chin-shu (蔡金樹) had been arbitrarily detained in China — at that time, for 420 days.
Since May 2016, there have been 149 cases of Taiwanese going missing after visiting China, with 101 cases resolved and 48 still pending resolution, according to foundation statistics.
Of the 67 people that were missing as of September, 19 cases have been resolved, with the people having returned home.
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