TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - The Ministry of Interior (MOI) fined two Taiwanese citizens last week for serving as assistants to the chair of a community in the Chinese city of Xiamen, while China decided to fund their legal battle, the Liberty Times reported Saturday.
The two were fined NT$100,000 (US$3,245) each, while another 53 Taiwanese in similar positions were allowed to voice their case until April 10.
The city government of Xiamen, in the province of Fujian, was reportedly forming a legal team to assist the two Taiwanese in their legal battle with the MOI, according to the Liberty Times.
The fines were based on Taiwanese law barring citizens from serving in government, administrative and military positions in China. The law had already caused about ten Taiwanese to quit from similar jobs, the Liberty Times reported.
The move by the Xiamen City Government was condemned, as it showed a dictatorial government abusing the benefits of democracy to undermine a democratic government, critics said. They called on Taiwan to toughen up measures against such interference, pointing at examples in Australia and the United States.
The action by the Chinese authorities was no longer just a legal affair, but a matter of national security, the critics said.
The MOI said that just the fact that Xiamen was assisting the two fined Taiwanese citizens amounted to an admission that they indeed had been serving in a political position.