Going to the Chinese mainland can be dangerous. First-time visitors are often surprised at their freedom, and seasoned travelers may feel comfortable, but foreigners in China do get detained by police for many reasons. When commercial dealings sour business people of Chinese descent, including those from Taiwan and Hong Kong, are especially at risk.
On March 1, Taiwan concluded a United Nations-type review of its implementation of two principal human rights treaties. A group of international experts issued their “Concluding Observations and Recommendations,” identifying a slew of issues concerning whether Taiwan’s government has met the requirements of the two major treaties. This was the first time that the government of Taiwan invited independent international experts to systematically evaluate its human rights records in accordance with the treaties.
The recent disappearance of publisher Lee Po—allegedly kidnapped from Hong Kong and rendered to Mainland China—has prompted widespread alarm about the state of Hong Kong’s autonomy, both within the city and internationally.
The already tense atmosphere in the East China Sea ratcheted up a notch this past week when China declared a new air defense identification zone. The United States’ flight of a pair of B-52 bombers through that zone on Monday further highlighted the potential for conflict in the contested area.
Beijing’s hardline stance has set the stage for a dramatic showdown with Hong Kong’s democrats. After months of mobilization and counter-mobilization by democrats and anti-democrats, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) has finally spoken on Hong Kong’s chief executive electoral arrangements for 2017.
The media on the mainland and in Taiwan took little note of last week’s sensational federal court decision in Washington that voided the criminal corruption conviction of former US senator Ted Stevens. Yet the case has profound implications for efforts on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to stamp out corruption while fostering a rule of law based on the adversarial system of criminal justice.
The first anniversary of the tragic May 12 Sichuan earthquake is an occasion for evaluating the Chinese government’s performance in meeting the horrendous challenges presented. In many respects, it seems to be doing a commendable job.
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou fulfilled a campaign pledge by signing the ratification instruments of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The legislature had, shortly before, incorporated the content of the two covenants into Taiwan’s domestic law. These significant acts deserve greater appreciation than they have received.
Every nation has the right to defend itself against theft of state secrets and commercial bribery. No one should dispute China’s right to do so. Then why should Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, himself a China specialist, take the extraordinary step of publicly warning the Chinese Government that the world is watching how it handles the case of Rio Tinto’s Stern Hu, a Chinese-born Australian, and his three Chinese co-workers?
When on July 5 China detained four Shanghai employees of Rio Tinto, a prominent Anglo-Australian company, on charges involving state secrets, the world immediately took note. While global media scrambled to decipher the ramifications of invoking “state secrets” under Chinese criminal procedure, a related story was quietly unfolding. China’s National People’s Congress had just released for public comment a draft revision of its 1989 Law for Protecting State Secrets.
When told I had criticized the Taiwan government’s recent decision to bar Rebiya Kadeer from visiting the island, Taiwan’s new Prime Minister, Wu Den-Yih, remarked:”People who do not live in our land may not understand…and need not take any responsibility. We respect their comments but do not necessarily adopt all of them.” This polite “putdown” deserves our reflection.
“The Chinese people have stood up!” Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong’s dramatic declaration in establishing the People’s Republic of China sixty years ago has surely been vindicated. Today’s celebrations in Beijing and throughout the country reflect the nation’s tremendous economic and social progress, especially during the past thirty years, and its increasing power and influence on the world scene.
Although this week’s Rio Tinto case focused world attention on China’s domestic legal system, it also raised doubts about a rising China’s adherence to its international legal commitments.
Did the Chinese government’s recent refusal to allow Shanghai writer Li Jianhong to return to her country violate the Chinese Constitution’s human rights guarantees?
This is the start of my third year publishing a biweekly column in the South China Morning Post and in Taiwan’s Chinese language China Times. Most of these “op-eds” have concerned contemporary issues of law and justice in China, Taiwan or both as well as political- legal questions arising from the cross-strait reconciliation that began in 2008 with Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou’s inauguration.
Taiwan politics is in turmoil about the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed last week with China. Although ECFA promises to benefit Taiwan’s economy, the island’s politicians have been engaged in heated debate over how the Legislature should consider whether to approve this thirteenth agreement between Taiwan’s “semi-official” Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and China’s “semi-official” Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS).
After camping out at Tokyo’s Narita airport for over three months in an extraordinary protest against the Chinese government’s refusal to allow him to return home, Shanghai human rights activist Feng Zhenghu made history last February. Having only recently turned him away for the eighth time, the government suddenly yielded, ending the worldwide publicity that had been poisoning the atmosphere for the impending opening of Shanghai’s World Expo.
When evaluating the impact of Friday’s award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo, there are at least six audiences to consider, in addition to the Laureate himself.
What can a government do when it believes a foreign government has unjustly detained one of its nationals? This month’s dangerous dispute between China and Japan understandably focused attention on their conflicting claims of sovereignty over the uninhabited islets known as the Diaoyu or Senkaku. Yet the methods used by China to free a fishing trawler captain from criminal investigation in Japan are undoubtedly being studied by countries that have similar problems in China and elsewhere.
Last week’s US-South Korean “war games” in the Yellow Sea offshore China and Korea dramatically brought to a boil the long-simmering US-China dispute over what kinds of military activities can be conducted in another nation’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).