China does not understand Taiwan’s laws and its democracy, a senior Taiwanese justice ministry official said Monday (March 13), in the latest spat between the self-ruled island and Beijing, after island authorities detained a Chinese man in a suspected spy case.
Deputy justice minister Chen Ming-tang said comments from a senior Chinese official that Taiwan was trying to use the case to stir up trouble with China was a misunderstanding.
“We think it’s a misunderstanding and (their charge is) definitely wrong. We are a democratic country ruled by law. We will certainly not make up charges. We handled this based on relevant facts and evidence. We hope all sides don’t misunderstand and let us have clear space to do our investigation,” Chen told reporters on the sidelines of a parliamentary meeting.
In an unusual espionage case involving a Chinese exchange student, Taiwanese authorities detained a man, identified as having recently been a university exchange student in Taiwan named Zhou Hongxu, on suspicion of breaching national security laws.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) spokesman Ma Xiaoguang was cited in Chinese state media as saying on Friday (March 10) that media reports alleging the suspect was working on behalf of TAO was “deliberate fabrication.
Taiwanese authorities have said the investigation is ongoing and that information about the case was classified.
China has never renounced the use of force to take back Taiwan, an island it regards as a wayward province. Chinese spy cases in Taiwan usually involve retired Taiwanese military officers.
The Zhou case comes as China has been pressuring Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen to concede that the island is a part of China. Beijing distrusts Tsai, who is leader of a ruling party that traditionally advocates independence for Taiwan.