Taiwan calls for details of citizen detained in China

09/11/2019 06:12 PM
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Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen (center)

Taipei, Sept. 11 (CNA) Taiwan's government demanded Beijing Wednesday to give a full account of the detention of Lee Meng-chu (李孟居), a Taiwanese citizen who went missing after reportedly crossing the border from Hong Kong to Shenzhen last month.

China's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) said earlier that day that Lee is being investigated for alleged "criminal activities that could jeopardize China's national security," without elaborating.

Taiwan's Presidential Office spokesman Chang Chun-han (張惇涵) later said that the government is deeply concerned about Lee's detention and has asked the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) and relevant government agencies to negotiate with Beijing over the issue.

Meanwhile, Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正), spokesman for the MAC, Taiwan's top government agency in charge of cross-Taiwan Strait affairs, called on Beijing to provide details about Lee's detention, including where he is being detained and why and when it happened.

Chiu also asked Beijing to give a report on the case to Taiwan's government and Lee's family in accordance with a joint crime-fighting agreement between Taiwan and China, and to swiftly arrange for his relatives to visit him in the company of lawyers to uphold his judicial rights.

Chiu stressed that the MAC will maintain communication with Lee's family and provide them with all necessary assistance.

Lee, an adviser to Fangliao Township in southern Taiwan's Pingtung County, was reported missing in late August by his family in Taiwan.

His family and friends said they have been unable to establish contact with him since Aug. 20 , when he was scheduled to leave Hong Kong for the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.

They expressed fear that his disappearance may be linked to his support for the ongoing anti-extradition law protests in Hong Kong.

Since then, Taiwan's semi-official Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) has three times sent letters calling on its Chinese counterpart to help seek information concerning Lee's whereabouts, according to the SEF.

Also Wednesday, Fangliao Township Chief Chen Ya-lin (陳亞麟) called on the international community to condemn Beijing for Lee's detention, given that Lee is only a businessman and has not participated in any political activities.

Meanwhile, ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus convener Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) called for Lee's immediate release, while DPP Chairman Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) pledged full support for Lee's family.

DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) reminded Taiwanese citizens wanting to do business in Hong Kong or China to pay attention to their personal safety.

Tseng Ming-chung (曾銘宗), a whip of the opposition Kuomintang's (KMT's) legislative caucus, said that Beijing should reveal details and evidence to prove Lee's guilt, while granting visitation rights to his family and allowing his family to hire lawyers to defend him.

In addition, the Chinese authorities should make legal proceedings in the case public and transparent in line with relevant regulations and international norms.

People First Party caucus whip Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) said Beijing should provide clear evidence of Lee's guilt lest his detention without evidence results in further deterioration of cross-strait exchanges.

(By Wen Kuei-hsiang, Shen Peng-ta, Wang Yang-yu, Yeh Su-ping and Evelyn Kao)


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