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MAC highlights risk of travelling to China amid Taiwanese 'spy confessions'

Taiwanese warned of arbitrary detention risk in China as cross-strait tensions rise

MAC Spokesperson Chiu Chui-cheng. 

MAC Spokesperson Chiu Chui-cheng.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) on Tuesday (Oct. 13) once again reminded Taiwanese citizens of the risk of arbitrary detention in China after four Taiwanese men "confessed" on Chinese state-run CCTV as spies sent by the nation.

Since Sunday (Oct. 11), four Taiwanese nationals have been brought on the CCTV current affairs program "Focus Report" as alleged spies detained by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Taiwanese local government advisor Lee Meng-chu (李孟居), academic Cheng Yu-chin (鄭宇欽), and retired university professors Tony Shih (施正屏), and Tsai Chin-shu (蔡金樹) all admitted that they had been breaching China's national security and collecting intelligence for the Taiwanese government for years.

Despite confessions from the four men, their friends and acquaintances told media that they had all disappeared in China for more than one year. Taiwanese legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) believes that they are being held hostage against their will, stressing that similar incidents have occurred to citizens of the U.K., Canada, Australia, and Japan, reported ETtoday.

During a press conference Tuesday evening, the MAC described the unsubstantiated accusations as "malignant political manipulation" and said Beijing's attempt to frame Taiwanese citizens for espionage has seriously damaged trust between the two countries. It added that the CCP should stop its intimidation and disruption of Taiwanese society.

The MAC also urged Taiwanese to exercise increased caution when traveling to China and said both Shih and Tsai were arrested during a cross-strait academic exchange. It emphasized that the Chinese government has expanded the scope of its national security law beyond its borders to gain bargaining leverage over foreign governments, reported UDN.