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China’s arrest of Taiwanese publisher sparks uproar

Li Yanhe is accused of engaging in activities that endangered national security
Taiwan publisher and radio host Li Yanhe was detained while visiting relatives in China

Taiwan publisher and radio host Li Yanhe was detained while visiting relatives in China. (Photo: Radio Taiwan International)

Published: April 28, 2023 11:15 AM GMT
Updated: April 28, 2023 11:16 AM GMT

China’s Communist regime confirmed the detention of a Taiwan-based publisher over the alleged publication of books critical of Chinese policies and history leading to a war of words with Taiwan on China’s controversial "long-arm jurisdiction."

Zhu Fenlian, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of China's cabinet informed the press of the detention of Li Yanhe, a Taiwan citizen and publisher, at a press briefing on April 26 in Beijing, Radio Free Asia reported.

"[Li] is suspected of engaging in activities that endangered national security," Zhu said.

She further added that "the relevant parties will protect his legitimate rights and interests in accordance with the law.”

According to another Taiwanese writer Bei Ling, Li, the founder of Eight Banners Press in Taiwan had disappeared while visiting Shanghai to meet his relatives during the Qing Ming festival on April 5.

Reportedly, Li had published non-fiction works on China's overseas infiltration and operations, the 1989 Tiananmen massacre, and other work critical of Beijing.

Chiu Tai-san, Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council chief told media personnel that the Chinese Communist Party is trying to exert its "long-arm jurisdiction" in democratic Taiwan, which has never been ruled by Beijing.

"China is trying to impose its long-arm jurisdiction here in Taiwan, which is a clear attempt at intimidation, and at the suppression of Taiwan," Chiu said.

China does not recognize Taiwan’s sovereignty, considers the island a breakaway province and repeatedly threatened to annex it with military power.

The reports of Li’s detention and investigation in China over books critical of its policies have once again highlighted the communist-ruled nation's heavy-handed approach to suppressing dissent through its secret overseas police stations.

Tsai Ming-yen, director of Taiwan’s National Security Bureau hinted that China could be running its overseas police stations on Taiwan soil.

“They [Chinese overseas police stations] do exist … we are currently investigating,” Tsai told lawmakers, Taiwan News reported.

Tsai further added that “[China] could be surveilling Chinese nationals or their spouses in Taiwan, through connected individuals or organizations.”

In October 2022, the Canadian federal police-initiated investigations into Chinese police posts in a residential home, a single-story commercial building, and a convenience store in the Toronto area.

The move comes as Madrid-based Safeguard Defenders reported last September that around 54 overseas police stations in various countries are run by Beijing.

The rights group’s report sparked investigations and orders to shut down the secretive police stations from governments around the world.

China has repeatedly detained individuals engaged in democratic activities in Taiwan as a retaliatory move against Taiwan for asserting its independence.

In August 2022, Yang Chih-yuan, vice chair of the Taiwan National Party was arrested by China’s state security police in the southeastern city of Wenzhou in China for his political activism in Taiwan, RFA reported.

He was accused of having founded the pro-independence Taiwan National Party, with the aim of "promoting Taiwan to join the United Nations as a sovereign and independent country."

Yang was placed under "residential surveillance at a designated location" from Aug. 4, 2022, in the eastern province of Zhejiang in China.

The residential surveillance imposed by Chinese authorities means that the prisoner will have no access to a lawyer or family visits for the next six months.

Lee Ming-cheh, a Taiwanese community college manager was jailed for five years in China after he was convicted for "subversion" linked to his activism.

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