Taiwanese Falun Gong Practitioner Released from Detention in China
After nearly two months in Chinese custody, Taiwanese businessman Chung Ting-pang (Zhong Dingbang) was released on Saturday, August 11 and allowed to return home, according to Friends of Falun Gong. Chinese authorities had arrested Chung, who practices the Chinese meditation discipline Falun Gong, on June 18 after he visited family in Jiangxi province. Falun Gong practitioners are severely persecuted in mainland China.
Chung had been detained on charges of planning to break into a Chinese television signal in 2003, though at this time it is still unclear if he had actually been involved in such a plan. However, there had been several cases of Chinese Falun Gong practitioners tapping into state television to air programming about Falun Gong as a way to counter state media's vicious anti-Falun Gong propaganda.
Chung's case drew special attention this week, as China and Taiwan signed trade pacts on Thursday. One of the issues was that of the legal protection of Taiwanese businessmen, like Chung, who travel to China.
Taiwan's president Ma Ying-jeou also broke his silence Thursday on Chung's case. Ma's office said the president had asked Taiwanese officials to "actively provide assistance" in Chung's case.
After Chung's arrest, his family in Taiwan launched an international effort to draw attention to his case. His release comes after numerous international appeals, including from US and Taiwanese legislators.