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Taiwanese professor sentenced to 4 years in China for 'spying'

Taiwan Affairs Office declines to give whereabouts of Taiwanese professionals detained for alleged breaches of Chinese law

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) — At a routine press conference, China's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) confirmed that a sentence has been handed down to renowned China-friendly Taiwanese academic Tony Shih (施正屏) a month after his "spy confession" aired on Chinese state television.

Shih, 56, a retired associate professor at National Taiwan Normal University, had reportedly been detained in Beijing for alleged involvement in "criminal activities jeopardizing China's national security" since August of 2018. Joining other Taiwanese professionals claiming to have breached Chinese law, the academic "admitted" in mid-October that he had collected intelligence for the Taiwanese government for years.

TAO spokeswoman Zhu Fenglian (朱鳳蓮) on Wednesday (Nov. 25) said a district court in China's Anhui Province had sentenced Shih to four years' imprisonment for espionage and deprived him of his political rights for two years.

The other three Taiwanese "spies" who allegedly confessed during Chinese state-run TV's week of propaganda were local government advisor Lee Meng-chu (李孟居), academic Cheng Yu-chin (鄭宇欽), and Tsai Chin-shu (蔡金樹), chairman of the South Taiwan Cross-Strait Relations Association. When asked about the men's whereabouts and fates, Chu declined to provide further information.

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