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17th of January 2018

International



Taiwan arrest of pro-Beijing politicians angers China

Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Taiwan's arrest of four politicians with a favorable stance toward Beijing has triggered an angry response from the Chinese government.

Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao reported Wednesday Taiwan's justice ministry had arrested Wang Ping-chung and three other members of a pro-China political party on Tuesday.

The reasons for the arrests were not clear, nor were specific charges made known to the public, according to the report.

China slammed Taiwanese actions.

"Recently, the Taiwan authorities have shielded and connived with Taiwan independent splittists, and taken various moves to wantonly crack down on and persecute forces and people who uphold peaceful reunification," China's Taiwan Affairs Office said. "We strongly condemn this and are paying close attention to developments."

The Telegraph reported Wang and the others are suspected of violating Taiwan's National Security Act.

Investigations are centered on a friendship between Wang and a Chinese student, Zhou Hongxu, who was convicted in September for attempting to obtain classified information and recruit spies for China.

Wang introduced Zhou to Taiwanese government officials, but allegations of collaboration are not true, said one detainee.

New Party member Lin Ming-chang said that it is "absurd" to "make a link between Zhou" and his political party.

Wang is also believed to have met with Chinese officials while visiting China last week.

Relations between Taipei and Beijing has deteriorated since U.S.-based senior Chinese diplomat Li Kexin said any docking of a U.S. Navy ship at Taiwanese ports would prompt a Chinese military strike against Taiwan.

A U.S. naval visit would violate China's Anti-Secession Law, Li said in early December.

Taiwan previously launched a probe into the Chinese Unification Promotion Party, after concerns were raised Beijing was funding the Taiwan-based party's activities.

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