Chinese officials warned their US counterparts as early as the summer that they might detain Americans in China if the US does not stop prosecuting Chinese academics linked to the Chinese military, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Saturday, citing people familiar with the matter.
China sent repeated warnings through multiple channels, including the US embassy in Beijing, the report said.
The message has been blunt: The US should drop prosecutions of the Chinese academics in US courts, or Americans in China might find themselves in violation of Chinese law, the newspaper cited sources as saying.
The US has charged several Chinese scientists who were conducting research at US universities with concealing ties to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
The prosecutions have become a flash point of tension between the US and China, which have since closed each other’s diplomatic missions in Houston, Texas, and Chengdu in Sichuan Province.
The arrests were the subject of a WSJ article that also reported US allegations that Chinese diplomats were coordinating activities with the researchers, and described that as a factor in ordering China to close its Houston consulate in July and remove the remaining military scientists from the country.
A US Department of State spokesman declined to address the specifics of the newspaper report, the paper said.
“We are aware that the Chinese government has, in other instances, detained American, Canadian and other individuals without legal basis to retaliate against lawful prosecutions and to exert pressure on their governments, with a callous disregard of the individuals involved,” the newspaper quoted US Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers as saying.
The Hill newspaper in Washington quoted a department spokesman as saying: “We warn US citizens that business disputes, court orders to pay a settlement, or government investigations into both criminal and civil issues may result in an exit ban which will prohibit your departure from China until the issue is resolved.”
“Even individuals and their family members who are not directly involved, or even aware of these proceedings, can be subject to an exit ban,” the spokesperson added.
In a Sept. 14 update to its travel advisories for China and Hong Kong, the department urged US citizens to reconsider travel to those areas “due to COVID-19 and risk due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws.”
The advisory also warned that Chinese government officials might detain citizens of other nations in an effort “to gain bargaining leverage over foreign governments.”
Chinese Ambassador to Canada Cong Peiwu (叢培武) on Thursday was rebuked by Canada’s foreign minister after warning at a news conference earlier in the day that Ottawa’s granting asylum to Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters could jeopardize the “health and safety” of 300,000 Canadians living in territory as well as Canadian companies doing business there.
MEMORIAL SERVICE: President Tsai spoke at a service at Chihhang Air Base to honor captain Chu Kuan-meng, who died after ejecting from his F-5E on Oct. 29 An air force F-16 jet went missing off the east coast of Taiwan last night, and search and recovery operations were ongoing as of press time, the Ministry of National Defense said. The F-16 disappeared from radar screens at 6:07pm 9 nautical miles (17km) northeast of Hualien Air Base, two minutes after taking off from the base as part of a nighttime training exercise, the ministry said. The F-16, serial number 6672, was piloted by Colonel Chiang Cheng-chih (蔣正志), it said. A National Rescue Command Center statement said that a Black Hawk helicopter and Coast Guard Administration vessels had been
SUPPORT: Reporters Without Borders said that it stands behind the legitimacy of the commission’s probe and that press freedom does not mean the absence of oversight National Communications Commission (NCC) commissioners yesterday reached a unanimous decision to reject CTi News’ (中天新聞台) license renewal application on the grounds that the channel’s frequent contraventions of media regulations showed that it has a malfunctioning internal control mechanism that cannot be rectified. This was the first time since it was established in 2006 that the commission denied a license renewal to a news channel. NCC Chairman Chen Yaw-shyang (陳耀祥) announced the landmark decision at the commission’s weekly media briefing. The commission denied the renewal request because the news channel was fined a total of NT$11.53 million (US$400,932) for 25 breaches of media regulations
AUTUMN STRUGGLE: The KMT and TPP set up stages on the rally’s sidelines, while Want Want boss Tsai Eng-meng said the DPP was curtailing freedom of speech Tens of thousands of people in Taipei yesterday took part in the “Autumn Struggle” (秋鬥) — an annual protest march by labor groups — but with this year’s focus on rejecting the government’s plan to allow imports of US pork containing ractopamine residue. “Against poisonous pork, against double standards, against a party-state,” the protesters, mostly wearing black, chanted in front of the rally’s main stage on Ketagalan Boulevard at about noon, before a parade set off at 2pm. Autumn Struggle spokesperson Lee Chien-cheng (李建誠) said this year’s march was divided into three teams, with the first team urging food safety and labor
An investigation has found no mechanical problems underlying the Tuesday disappearance of an F-16 jet and its pilot, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said yesterday, adding that it does not rule out an accident due to “spatial disorientation.” An air force F-16 jet on Tuesday evening disappeared from radar screens, just two minutes after it took off from Hualien Air Base, while the 44-year-old pilot, Colonel Chiang Cheng-chih (蔣正志), has yet to be found. Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發) yesterday morning headed to Hualien for updates on the search and rescue, while giving a pep talk to Chiang’s unit,