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Government optimistic about release of Taiwanese man in China

2012/08/08 17:30:42

Taipei, Aug. 8 (CNA) A "positive and constructive" development is expected soon regarding the recent detention of a Taiwanese Falun Gong practitioner in China, the head of the Mainland Affairs Council Lai Shin-yuan said Wednesday.

However, Lai did not expand on her statement and declined to discuss the latest developments in the case. Chung Ting-pang was arrested June 18 by Chinese authorities on charges of "sabotaging national and public security."

The Taiwan government is really sincere about wanting to resolve the case and has stated its position repeatedly to China, Lai said.

"We believe that a positive and constructive result is likely in the near future regarding Mr. Chung's release," she added.

She said the council's insistence on securing Chung's human rights is not linked to the current high-level negotiations between Taiwan and China.

The two sides are preparing to finalize an investment protection pact and a customs cooperation agreement Thursday in Taipei.

Prior to the signing, however, large demonstrations by opposition parties and human rights groups have been held throughout the city.

"There is no need to talk or sign any deal with China before Chung's release," Sun Yu-lien, secretary-general of the Taiwan Labor Front, said during a protest earlier this week.

Chung was detained at an airport in China after visiting his family in Jiangxi Province in mid-June. Chinese officials prevented him from departing for Taiwan, asking him to assist with "an investigation into the Falun Gong sect," a banned spiritual movement in China.

He was later accused of sabotaging the signal of a Chinese TV station in 2003 from Taiwan with the help of Chinese nationals.

On Wednesday, Chung's wife and daughter, accompanied by ruling Kuomintang Legislator Tsai Cheng-yuan, visited him at the detention facility in China where he is being held.

Commenting on Tsai's visit, Lai said her council's handling of the matter "has won recognition from lawmakers across party lines."

She also said she is grateful for the public concern over Chung's detention.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)