Noted authors and Morrison Lee (李孟居), who served a 22-month prison sentence in China on espionage charges, yesterday urged presidential election candidates to propose measures to guarantee the personal safety of Taiwanese visiting China, to avoid further cases of “hostage diplomacy.”
Authors Li Ang (李昂) and Chu Yu-hsun (朱宥勳) joined Lee and other figures in the arts and humanities at a news conference in Taipei protesting China’s arrest of Gusa Press (八旗文化) editor-in-chief Lee Yanhe (李延賀), also known by his penname Fucha (富察).
For those in a democratic country who abide by the rule of law, China’s arrest of Lee was illegal, Support Fucha Signature Drive member Joshua Wang (王家軒) said.
Photo: Chen Cheng-yu, Taipei Times
The incident has caused people who have business dealings in China to face significant stress, as they now see that Beijing can arrest people for political reasons and not legal violations, he said.
The Support Fucha Signature Drive group has more than 300 members, Li said.
Cross-strait efforts in promoting academic and cultural interactions have been plagued with uncertainties, and Chinese customs officers have been questioning people, she said.
She urged all four presidential candidates to give due attention to such issues and to say what measures they would take to help protect Taiwanese visiting China for academic interactions.
She said she hoped to hear back from the candidates by Thursday next week, which would mark a full half-year since Fucha had been arrested.
There are many other Taiwanese detained in China, Morrison Lee said, adding that he hoped the presidential candidates would have the courage to call China out on its “illicit” actions.
Taiwan could be the base of an international support platform to help those who have been “disappeared” by the Chinese government, Morrison Lee said.
He urged China’s Taiwan Affairs Office to provide a list of “sensitive topics and phrases,” adding that without such action, no one would dare visit China again.
Morrison Lee also urged Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) to include human rights issues in next year’s Twin-City Forum.
“There must be interaction across the Taiwan Strait, and the overhanging shadow must be removed. We hope that a politician with guts would be able to achieve this goal,” Morrison Lee added.
Chu said that there was little that Taiwan could do to change China’s policies, but the presidential candidates could express their stance on such matters.
“If one is arrested and persecuted for no reason when on an exchange, you [the candidates] must side with us, the people of culture and the humanities, instead of first asking if we crossed a red line and said something we should not have,” he said.
Chen Shih-kai (陳世凱), spokesman of Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate William Lai’s (賴清德) office, said the party is dedicated to upholding Taiwanese sovereignty, democracy and liberty.
The party is dedicated to maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, the act of which contributes to the protection of the basic human rights of Taiwanese, he said.
In light of the Fucha case and similar incidents, he said that the Mainland Affairs Council has prepared a list of actions that might cause problems with Chinese national security agencies.
The council has repeatedly urged people not to visit China unless necessary to minimize the possibility of one’s personal liberties and freedom being oppressed, he added.
Additional reporting by CNA
AGGRESSION: China’s latest intrusions set a new benchmark for its ‘gray zone’ tactics and possibly a new pattern that it would attempt to normalize, a researcher said China’s latest military exercises represent a new challenge to Taiwan’s legal authority to demarcate its borders in the Taiwan Strait, a defense expert said, adding that the fleets in the latest exercises were likely the most powerful the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) ever assembled. The PLA conducted military exercises from Sunday last week to 6am on Friday, which encompassed large swathes of the western Pacific, including the Taiwan Strait and waters off the Philippines and Guam, National Policy Foundation associate research fellow Chieh Chung (揭仲) said on Friday. The Ministry of National Defense said that it detected 70 warship and 162 aircraft
DOMESTIC MARKET: To protect the livelihoods of local egg farmers, the government adopted a new method for releasing imported eggs, the agriculture minister said More than 54 million imported eggs will be disposed, as their expiration date has passed, Minister of Agriculture Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said yesterday. Chen made the remarks at a news conference in Taipei, explaining the flow of imported eggs following recent controversies regarding the products. The ministry introduced a special egg import program to address a nationwide egg shortage earlier this year. However, controversies have risen in recent weeks. These included an accusation that the government helped some egg importing companies over others, eggs imported from Brazil that had an incorrect expiration date, and egg shipments from Brazil that were found
PACIFIC OCEAN: Defense experts have warned that the ‘Shandong,’ China’s second largest aircraft carrier, poses a serious threat to eastern Taiwan’s defenses The drills conducted by the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong in the Western Pacific last week were more aimed at showcasing China’s military capabilities to the US rather than toward Taiwan, a Taiwanese defense expert said yesterday. Lin Yin-yu (林穎佑), an assistant professor at Tamkang University’s Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies, said the drills which involved dozens of warplanes sought to test China’s anti-access and area denial capabilities should the US and its allies attempt to interfere in a cross-strait conflict. Lin said that the latest Chinese drills coincided with a joint maritime exercise conducted by the US, South Korea
Thousands of bottles of Sriracha have been returned or destroyed after the discovery of excessive sulfur dioxide, a bleaching agent, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Tuesday. About 12,600 bottles totaling 9,991.8kg of the hot sauce imported from the US by Emporium Corp (河洛企業) were flagged at the border for containing illegal levels of sulfur dioxide, the FDA said in its regular border inspection announcement. Inspectors discovered 0.5g per kilogram of the common bleaching agent and preservative, higher than the 0.03g permitted, it said. As it is the first time within six months the product has been flagged, Sriracha products from