Taiwanese who have recently traveled to China for tourism, to visit friends or relatives or for business reasons have been interrogated, detained and faced other forms of unreasonable treatment from Chinese officials, a source said on Sunday.
Among them was a Taiwanese who was detained for eight hours at an airport in China due to their research, which is related to religion, while others have had their travel documents for China canceled for a number of reasons, the source said.
In July, China expanded the scope of its counterespionage law, and recently announced a draft amendment to the law on the protection of state secrets.
Beijing says that the law aims to further protect China’s state secrets, and counter the intelligence work of “hostile Western forces.”
State secrets were previously dispersed among units in China and managed independently, but the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) wants to amend the law to manage sensitive information centrally, the source said, adding that Beijing sees the centralization of information and resources as a way to prevent the party from weakening.
Under Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) rule, China has given top priority to national security, the source said.
“Chinese who attended Halloween activities this year and wore costumes were later visited at home by national security officials who wanted to know who organized the events,” the source said.
Chinese customs officials have also increasingly been interrogating people arriving from the US, Japan and other countries, they said.
“Taiwanese academics who were invited to China to participate in exchange activities were recently detained at the airport for questioning, and their laptops and mobile phones were all searched,” the source said.
“The CCP is particularly afraid of organized religions... If you bring a Bible or religious publications into China, you might face criminal prosecution,” they said.
Over the past year, China has increasingly interrogated foreigners entering the country, and many foreign experts and academics have been arrested arbitrarily, they said.
In related news, Taiwanese officials have been unable to secure information about Taiwanese National Party vice chairman Yang Chih-yuan (楊智淵), who was arrested on charges of “endangering national security” and “secession” in Wenzhou, China, in August last year.
Since his arrest, Beijing has refused to grant Yang’s family or Taiwanese officials access to him, the source said.
The Mainland Affairs Council called for Yang’s release in April after the Chinese Supreme People’s Procuratorate announced that it would indict him.
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