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KMT, police accused of intimidation

RETURN TO THE DARK DAYS?: Chen Tsung-yi said Investigation Bureau agents searched his residence, which he says was a warning over his links to pro-independence groups

By Loa Iok-sin, Wu Jen-chieh and Liu Ching-hou
Saturday, Dec 20, 2008, Page 1

Pro-independence New Taiwan Weekly magazine news desk director Chen Tsung-yi (陳宗逸) has accused the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government of intimidating him because of his political ideology.

“On [Wednesday] morning, four men who identified themselves as agents from the Investigation Bureau’s Taipei City branch searched my residence in Taoyuan in relation to a corruption case after identifying themselves and showing a search warrant,” Chen said in an e-mail on Wednesday.

The agents prevented Chen from taking pictures as they searched, and he engaged in a verbal dispute with them.

“An agent who appeared to be the leader told me that I could be charged for interfering with official duties and asked me to delete all the pictures that I took,” Chen wrote. “I didn’t know much about the law, so I deleted the pictures.”

During the search, Chen said the agents talked on the telephone with what seemed to be two superiors and mentioned the US-based pro-Taiwan group Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA).

“I asked them what FAPA — an overseas civic organization that promotes Taiwan independence — had to do with a corruption case. The leader said he could not reveal details about the investigation and that promoting Taiwan independence was not an issue since the nation is a democracy,” Chen said in the e-mail.

He added that the lead agent continued to ask about FAPA and another US-based pro-independence organization, the North America Taiwanese Professors’ Association.

“Suddenly I realized that the purge by prosecutors and the Investigation Bureau is now looking at overseas pro-independence groups and I was searched because my uncle has long served as FAPA chairman and executive director — in other words, I think this [search] was a warning to me,” Chen wrote.

“My mother was frightened — she has worried that I will be arrested since I was in junior high school. After 20 years of the democratization of Taiwan, my mother’s nightmare may come true. I believe the curtain has just been raised and it’s time to fight,” he wrote.

The e-mail is widely available and posted on several online forums.

When contacted by the Taipei Times via telephone yesterday, Chen confirmed the incident, but declined to comment further.

Judicial Reform Foundation executive director Lin Feng-jeng (林峰正) criticized the agents for not allowing Chen to take pictures and not revealing the details of the case against him.

“I wouldn’t say [the agents] have violated the law, since the law only says that the person involved must be present during a search and they could argue that [Chen] should not take pictures to avoid a leak of details about the investigation,” Lin said. “However, the law doesn’t prohibit taking pictures either. If you’re conducting a search at my place, why can’t I take pictures or be told details about the case in which I’m suspected to be involved?”

A spokesman for the Investigation Bureau’s Taipei City branch, Huang Yu-chu (黃郁初), declined to comment yesterday, saying that he knew nothing about the case.

Meanwhile, political columnist Paul Lin (林保華) penned an article in the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) on Wednesday in which he said police from his local precinct had come to his house for no reason.

Paul Lin said he suspected the visit had something to do with recent articles he has written on police abusing their power and disregarding human rights.

In response, police said they were on a routine household visit and that it had nothing to do with Paul Lin’s background or his political opinions. They said they were willing to talk with Paul Lin if any misunderstanding had been caused by the timing of the visit and were willing to explain their procedures for household visits.

In Paul Lin’s article, he states that he is originally from Hong Kong and became a Taiwanese citizen years ago, but the police asked him to fill in a document for “people from mainland China.” Paul Lin said he was not at home at the time and his wife informed him of the visit by phone.

Paul Lin said he believes the visit may also have been connected to his presence in court last week, where he sat in on the trial of former Songshan Precinct chief Huang Jia-lu (黃嘉祿) for infringing freedoms, and that police used the visit to warn Paul Lin that they could label him a person from China to control him.

Reached for comment, staff at Taipei City’s Wanhua Precinct said Lin recently moved from Zhongshan District (中山) to Wanhua District (萬華) and that it was a routine household visit, which had started in the area last month.

The police said they had visited every household in the building in which Paul Lin lives and had only asked Lin to fill in basic information, such as his profession and the members of his family who lived there.

The police denied they asked him to fill in any document to do with “people from mainland China” and that they did not ask Paul Lin’s wife to give such information.

Paul Lin’s article mentioned in the story will be published on page 8 in tomorrow’s Taipei Times.



Keating pleased with progress in China relations

CROSS-STRAIT TENSIONS: Admiral Timothy Keating said the US was happy with the progress being made by both Taiwan and China on the cross-strait relationship

By William Lowther

Saturday, Dec 20, 2008, Page 1

Admiral Timothy Keating, head of the US Pacific Command, said on Thursday in Washington that while he continued to closely monitor the Chinese military, he believed that tensions in the Taiwan Strait had been reduced over the last two months.

He said that while there had been some changes in China’s military posture toward Taiwan, those changes were not significant.

“We are pleased with the progress being made by China and Taiwan in reducing the tension across the Strait,” Keating said.

He added that, while there had been no great strategic shift, there had been a series of meaningful small developments, including China sending pandas to Taiwan, increased capability to send mail across the Strait and improved transportation links.

The admiral particularly stressed sociological changes where young men and women on both sides “are falling in love with one another and it’s increasingly easy to do so.”

“All of these recommend to us a decrease in tension across the strait and we are gratified by that decrease … That said, we still pay close attention to the Strait, as we do many other regions in our area,” Keating said.

Keating, probably the most important individual in the US military dealing on a daily basis with Taiwan’s security, stressed that the centerpiece of his policy in the region was “partnership, presence and military readiness.”

In a statement that may have been designed to reassure Taiwan, he said: “We want everybody in our area of responsibility to know that we’re committed to security, stability and prosperity. We are going to remain present and engaged throughout the area ... We want to emphasize to our friends and allies that we will be there in the years ahead, as we have been there for decades in the past. We want them to be confident and comfortable in our ability to respond across the entire spectrum of operations.”

When asked by Nadia Tsao of the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) about reports that China was building an aircraft carrier, Keating refused to confirm the development outright, but appeared to do so with a wink and a nod.

“If the Chinese choose to pursue aircraft carrier technology, we will monitor very carefully that development ... We would ask that they be increasingly transparent with us so we can understand their intentions,” Keating said.

The admiral said that he had told Chinese military leaders that the development of aircraft carriers could be seen by some as a threat.

“I don’t regard it as a threat today ... We are going to watch very carefully to make sure that it doesn’t become a threat,” he said.

But building a carrier was complex, demanding, dangerous and very expensive, Keating said.

“When I proposed to the Chinese an increased statement of intention, they came back and said: ‘Well, we only want to protect those things that are ours’ — which seems fair enough,” he said. “But so do we, so too do all of the countries who have access to the maritime domain.”



Closer cross-strait links met with mixed reviews

Saturday, Dec 20, 2008, Page 3

Forty years ago, dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) called on Taiwanese to fight communism and recover China.

Today, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is urging them to trade with China and welcome Chinese investment in Taiwan.

On Monday, Taiwan opened direct sea and postal links with China and began daily charter flights. As Taiwanese TV reporters craned their necks to count the Chinese planes landing at Taipei’s two airports, some wondered whether Taiwan would be able to maintain its autonomy and not be swallowed by China.

“At this speed of cross-strait exchange, I am worried Taiwan-China unification may happen before Ma’s four-year term ends,” said Liu Hsiao-ping, a 54-year-old teacher in Taipei.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was concerned that opening the doors to China could endanger national security.

“The opening of the links are illegal because they have not been approved by the legislature,” DPP Spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) said. “Ma is pinning his hopes for reviving Taiwan’s economy on China, but the result might be China controlling Taiwan’s economy and turning Taiwan into another Hong Kong or Macau.”

But some analysts argue that such a possibility is remote.

George Tsai (蔡瑋), a professor from Chinese Culture University, said that times have changed and Taiwan-China ties have entered a new phase. For the time being, the two sides should focus on economic cooperation, he said, adding that he was not worried about China possibly forcing unification on Taiwan.

“In the next couple of years, there are many things to discuss, such as signing investment protection pacts and cooperation in fighting crime,” he said. “Unification is a very remote thing.”

Sea, air and trade links were banned for national security reasons when Chiang and his Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lost the Chinese Civil War in 1949 and fled to Taiwan.

Cross-strait tension has thawed since the 1980s, but bilateral ties remained strained from 1988 until earlier this year during the terms of former presidents Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who asserted Taiwan’s independence.

The situation changed when Ma took office in May and announced moves to improve ties with China that included resuming dialogue with Beijing and launching weekend charter flights to bring Chinese tour groups.

Chen Wei-lu, an economics analyst, said people’s thinking should change with the times.

“Those who worry about China attacking Taiwan are living in the Cold War days,” he said. “I think the launch of the links is a good start and can promote mutual understanding and economic cooperation.”

In an attempt to mitigate public fear that Taiwan is moving too close to China, Ma said on Tuesday that opening transport links symbolized that both Taipei and Beijing want to pursue peace and said it had nothing to do with unification.

“Avoiding the use of non-peaceful means to resolve conflicts is a global trend,” he told Hakka Television. “The opening of the three links is consistent with such a trend.”


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