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China trots out 2 more alleged Taiwanese 'spies'

China's state-run CCTV showcases 4 purported Taiwanese 'spies' over 3 days

Tony Shih (left), Tsai Chin-shu (right). (Weibo/CCTV News images)

Tony Shih (left), Tsai Chin-shu (right). (Weibo/CCTV News images)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Chinese state-run TV on Tuesday (Oct. 13) trotted out two more Taiwanese men who "confessed" to committing espionage on China, bringing the total number of alleged Taiwanese "spies" announced by the communist regime to four over the past three days.

For the third night in a row, the CCTV current affairs program "Focus Report" on Tuesday evening aired the espionage "confessions" of retired China-friendly professor, Tony Shih (施正屏), and Tsai Chin-shu (蔡金樹), the chairman of the South Taiwan Cross-Strait Relations Association, both of whom had disappeared in China in 2018. China's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) had confirmed the detention of both men in China in November of last year.

During the program, it was announced that a Chinese court in July handed him a prison sentence of four years for "endangering China's national security" (危害中國國安). In addition, the show claimed that the trial for Shih had ended and that he had allegedly "pleaded guilty," with the judgment to be announced publicly at a future date.

The show did not make it clear where Tsai and Shih are currently being detained in China. However, it was officers of the National Security Bureau of Xiamen City, Fujian Province who came forward to accuse the two of "espionage."

The officers may be part of the primary investigative unit for the two cases, but this does not mean that Tsai and Shih are actually being detained in Xiamen. During the show, the two Taiwanese provided their "confessions" while being clad in black vests typically worn by prisoners in China.

The program also showed photos of "intelligence agency personnel" whose origin is unknown and alleged that they recruited the two men to engage in "espionage." As had been the case in previous episodes of the show, Tsai "confessed" in front of the camera and said that he:

"had been in the mainland for more than 20 years and had followed my predecessors to engage in cross-strait exchanges. However, I was used by the intelligence bureau to commit acts that endanger the national security of the mainland. This is something that I had not expected and I regret it."

The Focus Report narrator then claimed that Tsai had been engaged in cross-strait exchanges in the 1990s and has many contacts in China. However, he claimed that Tsai was "recruited by personnel from Taiwan's Military Intelligence Bureau in 2013 and established 'Eagle Media' in 2016 to solicit contributions from mainland scholars and journalists through its pro-mainland front. In this way, information was gathered and the manuscripts [reports] were submitted to the intelligence unit."

The program also claimed that over the past few years, Tsai has introduced more than 50 people, including personnel from Taiwan-related work units in China, important think tank experts, and well-known media reporters to "recruiters" and has successively collected more than NT$5 million (US$174,334) from "intelligence agencies."

As for Shih, the show claimed that he had been contacted by National Security Agency personnel "on the recommendation of the teacher" in 2005. Shih was allegedly asked by the agency to provide information regarding his travels to China.

At an academic exchange event in 2010, all available content was photographed and passed to his "recruiters," claimed the show. The program stated that that Shih had entered China more than 30 times to participate in cross-strait seminars organized by relevant units in China.

During these activities, he purportedly photographed event materials and personnel lists and recorded important speeches by the participants. His "recruiters" would then pay Shih based on the importance of the data, ranging in the tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of Chinese yuan.

On Sunday (Oct. 11), the show featured Taiwanese local government advisor Lee Meng-chu (李孟居), who "confessed" to supposedly secretly filming Chinese paramilitary police in Shenzhen. The next day, CCTV brought out Cheng Yu-chin (鄭宇欽), who "confessed" that he had committed "secessionist and separatist activities" and apologized for having "caused harm to the Mainland."