A Chinese man was detained by authorities after he questioned a fundamental principle of China’s sovereignty and asked on social media, “What law says you can't call Taiwan a country?”
The 18-year-old man from the northeastern city of Ma’anshan, who was identified only as Yang, reportedly asked that question on Chinese social media platform Weibo.
However, soon after asking the question on a public forum he became a target of persecution.
He was detained on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” The young man also reportedly wrote in a police statement that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was his “real father.”
According to police, Yang has previously been warned by authorities for making, what they said were, “bad comments” on social media. After being detained, the man confessed his crimes.
Taiwan is officially known as the Republic of China (ROC) and it lies off China’s southeastern coast.
Since 1949, tensions have simmered between the two over the former’s status because Beijing claims the island nation as part of its territory.
However, Taiwan, which has its own constitution, armed forces and a democratic set-up (in stark contrast to the autocratic communist regime in Beijing), argues it’s more of a self-governing, independent state — a notion that China strongly resists.
China’s hostility toward Taiwan has risen since the election of President Tsai Ing-wen, of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, in 2016.
It suspects Tsai wants to push for formal independence, which would cross a red line for Communist Party leaders in Beijing, although Tsai said she wants to maintain the status quo and is committed to ensuring peace.
Recently, China showed concerns after President Donald Trump signed a travel bill with Taiwan. It said the United States should “stop pursuing any official ties with Taiwan or improving its current relations with Taiwan in any substantive way.”
The move added to strains between the two countries over trade, as Trump enacted tariffs and called for China to reduce its huge trade imbalance with the United States, even while Washington has leaned on Beijing to help resolve tensions with North Korea.
Spotlight, Banner: Reuters, Tyrone Siu