'No Right to Take My Father Away'

A daughter speaks about the plight of her Taiwanese father detained in China.
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Chung Ai speaks to RFA.
Chung Ai speaks to RFA.

Last month, police in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangxi announced they were charging Taiwan businessman Chung Ting-pang on national security-related charges, accusing him of taking possession of secrets from mainland nationals and of helping to hijack satellite television broadcasts on behalf of the Falun Gong spiritual movement, which is banned by China's ruling Communist Party. His daughter Chung Ai spoke to RFA's Mandarin service in a recent interview about her view of the case against her father:

[My father] is just a regular practitioner of Falun Gong. He is definitely not a very important figure. He doesn't go that often, only when they have a very big event. I am not [a Falun Gong practitioner.] As far as I know, [my father] began practising some time around 2002-2003. The last time he went to China was around the same time.

The whole family went to Beijing on holiday. When I first [saw the official Chinese media reports] I thought that these charges were ridiculous, because my father only knows his own relatives in mainland China. He doesn't even know any other residents there. We only have contact with our relatives, but not anyone else.

My father is a manager of a high-tech company that makes transmission equipment...We have asked for help from the Taiwan government...because only they can deal with it. We got in touch with the presidential office and they started to talk to [mainland Chinese officials] via the Straits Exchange Foundation. But so far, there hasn't been any actual progress.

We did receive a letter from the mainland Chinese authorities shortly after he was detained...But even though they sent us the letter, we didn't find out about the exact situation until the report on Xinhua news agency on June 23. They didn't tell us the charges against my father until after they had sent us the letter. Some of our relatives in mainland China went to the police and asked them to release him.

Also, we were trying to find a lawyer to represent my father from over here.
But that was an exhausting process, because lawyers in mainland China don't really dare [to take on such cases] because of their history of political oppression. Our lawyers are working on that now, and they have hired a mainland lawyer.

Right now, he is being held under residential surveillance...[The charges against my father] are unthinkable, and they are very unjust.
Firstly, he isn't a citizen of mainland China; he is a citizen of Taiwan. In my view, they don't have the right to take my father away in such a manner.

The way I look at it is, even if my father did something that say was wrong, he must have done it in Taiwan, because he hasn't been to mainland China in all that time. I don't think that the mainland authorities have any right to interfere with any act committed by anyone in Taiwan. As for their charge of interfering with transmissions, perhaps my father was helping them get hold of information that is blocked by the Chinese Communist Party, helping them to scale the Great Firewall.

I have just graduated from Taiwan University and some students from Tianjin...came to visit and told us that they would scale the Great Firewall sometimes too if there was something they wanted to know about. So I think it's possible that my father was helping other people scale the Great Firewall and get hold of content that was censored in mainland China.

Xinhua news agency made it out to be a really huge crime, but personally, I think that...it is basically wrong of the Chinese Communist Party to censor it in the first place. That's why I think my father hasn't done anything wrong.

Reported by Shi Shan for RFA's Mandarin service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.





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