Taiwan investigators search homes of pro-Chinese New Party officials

Case thought to be linked to Chinese student spy

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New Party official Wang Ping-chung being taken in for questioning Tuesday. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Prosecutors searched the homes of four officials from the small pro-Chinese New Party (新黨) Tuesday morning, with media reports claiming a link with the recent conviction of a Chinese student for spying.

Last September, Zhou Hongxu (周泓旭), who had studied in Taiwan earlier, was sentenced to one year and two months in prison for trying to bribe a Taiwanese diplomat into spying for China.

According to media reports Tuesday, New Party spokesman Wang Ping-chung (王炳忠) and three other young party officials might have been suspected of having supplied Zhou with information, thus violating the National Security Act (國安法).

Officials of the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau and police officers reportedly showed up on Wang’s doorstep in Taipei at 6 a.m. Tuesday, bringing a warrant with them. He refused to open but began broadcasting the events live on Facebook. After 40 minutes, the authorities brought a locksmith who opened the door.

Wang’s attorney was not allowed to enter while the investigators were present, and the New Party official was then taken away for questioning as he accused the authorities of conducting “Green Terror,” a reference to the “White Terror” under Martial Law, when the Kuomintang (KMT) government arrested and sometimes executed political opponents.

Later it became known that investigators had also visited and searched the homes of at least three other New Party officials.

The party was founded in the 1990s by breakaway KMT members and soon became Taiwan’s third-largest political group, though it later soon shrank, partly due to its clear stance in favor of unification with China. The New Party has vanished from the Legislative Yuan, but still holds two seats in the Taipei City Council.