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China should release Taiwanese businessman: lawmakers

2012/08/08 21:26:44

Taipei, Aug. 8 (CNA) Opposition lawmakers demanded Wednesday the release of a Taiwanese businessman detained in China, saying that if this does not happen, a Cross-Taiwan Strait investment protection pact should not be signed.

Chung Ting-pang, a 53-year-old manager of a Hsinchu-based technology firm and a practitioner of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement, was detained by the Chinese authorities June 18 on allegations of actions "detrimental to national and public security."

He was accused of endangering national and public security by secretly collecting documents over a period of nine years and of“inciting Chinese citizens to destroy broadcasting equipment,” according to a June 26 Xinhua news agency report.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Hsu Tain-tsair and Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin demanded Chung's release at a press conference at the Legislative Yuan.

If China wants to show its sincerity in seeking normal exchanges with Taiwan, it should first release Chung, said Hsu Tain-tsair, who described the businessman as innocent.

According to the Criminal Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China, notice should be issued to families of detained suspects within 24 hours, unless the suspects are believed to have endangered national security, said Hsu Chung-hsin.

Hsu expressed hope that discussions on including a no-exception clause in the 24-hour notification mechanism can be held during talks on the cross-strait investment protection agreement scheduled for the following day.

If this clause is not included in the agreement, then it will be meaningless and not worth signing, said Hsu.

Protection of the safety of Taiwanese businessmen in China is supposed to be one of the main points of the agreement, and Chinese officials have agreed to notify the families of such businessmen within 24 hours, although they have not agreed to lift the national security exceptions, the head of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), Lai Shin-yuan, said Aug. 3.

In cases of Taiwanese businessmen suspected of endangering China's national security, Chinese officials will report the case in "real-time" instead of using the 24 hour notification system, a Radio Taiwan International report quoted Lai as saying that day.

However, MAC Deputy Minister Liu Te-shun noted that the 24 hour notification clause will not be included in the agreement, but will instead be put in an appended consensus.

Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kung and China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits Chairman Chen Yunlin are set to seal the agreement Thursday during their 8th meeting.

Legislator Tsai Cheng-yuan of the ruling Kuomintang said in a press release that he has requested Chung's release by the Chinese authorities after the Chiang-Chen meeting. He added that China has not made any promise but is considering the issue.

The legislator visited Chung in China's Jiangxi Province earlier in the day at the request of Chung's wife.

Tsai expressed hope that the relevant Chinese agencies will show leniency toward to Chung and release him as soon as possible, and said he has asked the MAC's Lai and SEF chief Chiang to work hard to resolve the issue soon in order to promote peaceful development between the two countries.

(By Tzeng Ying-yu, Chen Wei-ting and C.J. Lin)