Taiwan President "Hasn't Really Stood Up" to Free Citizen in China
Created: 2012-08-10 11:23 EST
After more than 50 days of Chung Ting-pang’s detention in China, Taiwan’s president Ma Ying-jeou has finally spoken about his case. On Thursday, Ma’s office asked Taiwanese officials to proactively secure his release.
[Fan Chiang Tai-chi, Presidential Office spokesman]:
“President Ma Ying-jeou is paying a lot of attention to Mr. Chung Ting-pang’s case. He’s asked the administrative offices to actively provide assistance, and asked them to give timely updates so that Mr. Chung Ting-pang can be released as soon as possible and return to Taiwan.”
Chung Ting-pang is a Falun Gong practitioner. Chinese authorities placed him under residential surveillance in June after he paid a short visit to family in Jiangxi province. State-run media has accused him of “endangering state secrets,” while offering vague details. Falun Gong is a spiritual practice that is severely persecuted in China.
Ma’s message came after his government signed a long awaited investment agreement with China. Several rights organizations and Taiwan’s opposition legislators have been pressing his office to do more to secure Chung’s release.
Teresa Chu, a human rights lawyer for Falun Gong in Taiwan, says Ma’s statement does not go far enough. She wants him to call directly on Chinese authorities to free Chung Ting-pang.
[Teresa Chu, Taiwanese Human Rights Lawyer for Falun Gong]:
“Ma’s words are directed internally to Taiwanese officials, but not asking the Chinese Communist Party to release Chung. He hasn’t really stood up to as the main person in charge of cross-strait policy, and has only asked Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council to take care of it. This is very much political rhetoric.”
Chung’s case has raised concerns in Taiwan about how its citizens are treated in mainland China. Chung’s supporters have accused the government of not doing enough to stand up for human rights, even as it signs an agreement with Chinese authorities meant to protect the rights of Taiwanese investors in China.