The government of Taiwan berated China’s move to publicly broadcast a confession of its citizen on state television, citing a case of manipulation and entrapment by Beijing, The Guardian reports.
The Chinese state television had on Sunday showed a broadcast of a Taiwanese citizen, Morrison Lee, confessing to illegally filming Chinese military troops that were conducting an exercise in a city bordering Hong Kong during protests in the city in 2019. According to the television station, he shot about 16 videos and 48 photos of the scene around the stadium before his arrest was ordered by police in Shenzhen for breaching national security laws.
In the televised broadcast, and dressed in prison garb, Lee said, “I’m very sorry. I did many bad, wrong things in the past, perhaps harming the motherland and the country. I took my phone and recorded some videos.”
However, the Taiwan government is having none of it, calling the entire episode “complete nonsense.”
“This is malicious political hyping up by the other side, entrapping one of our people into engaging in spying activities, deliberating damaging relations across the Taiwan Strait,” the Mainland Affairs Council said.
The council added that China should cease henceforth from manipulating its citizens and said that putting Lee on television before he was given a chance to defend himself in a trial was a breach of legal procedures in itself.
Human Rights Activists and Western observers have oftentimes criticized China’s practice of putting up detainees and suspects on national television to confess even before their trial begins.
China claims Taiwan to be part of its national territory, seeing the country as a breakaway province that will eventually be reunited with the country once again. It has also repeatedly accused the Taiwanese authorities of supporting the anti-government protests that have rocked Hong Kong in recent times, including making the country a haven for Chinese dissidents.
The allegation of espionage is coming amidst the worsening diplomatic relations between China and Taiwan. In recent weeks, the Chinese government stepped up military drills near the island. However, Taiwan said it would stand up to the bullying antics of Beijing. Taiwan said although it would not be the first to provoke tensions, it would defend itself and its democracy if forced to.
The Taiwanese President Tsai-Ing Wen on Wednesday called on the Chinese President to deescalate tensions between the two countries and set up initiatives in what could lead to “meaningful dialogue.”
Tsai-Ing Wen said on Saturday which was Taiwan’s National Day, that what was most important right now was to ensure that both countries lived in peace, with mutual respect and understanding from both sides.