It seems almost a weekly occurrence now, another foreign national has disappeared in China. This time it is Morrison Lee (李孟居). Lee, a Taiwanese man from Pingtung county who vanished last month after traveling to Hong Kong.
It was reported that Lee was visiting Hong Kong on vacation and participated in the ongoing protests, which are in their 13th week. This is according to Archer Chen (陳亞麟) who is the chief of Fangliao township and discussed the situation with Bloomberg. Lee also maintains a position as a voluntary advisor to the township.
Lee traveled to Hong Kong on August 8. He was reportedly planning on traveling to Shenzhen two days later. Keep in mind this is the same place where Simon Cheng was recently detained for 15 days under dubious circumstances.
CCP officials have yet to inform their Taiwanese counterparts of Lee’s detention and have, so far, flat out refused to release any statement whatsoever. The Chinese government is required to pass along any details pertaining to Taiwanese citizens taken into custody in China as a part of a bilateral agreement. Though it would be no great revelation if they were holding him, as they almost certainly are, and refrained from informing the Taiwanese government.
Taiwanese representatives, for their part, have been searching for more information on Lee and his current situation. Chiu Chui-cheng, the Taiwan Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Deputy Minister said that China has yet to respond to requests for information from the Taiwanese government. MAC Minister, Chen Ming-tong, went further and criticized the CCP. He rebuked China for continuing to use its three strategies of “united front, armed struggle, and party building,” saying that they are faced with challenges from all sides. He called on China to begin honoring human rights in order to rid itself of these issues. While it is good to see the Taiwanese government take a strong stance against CCP authoritarianism, Lee’s status still remains in the dark.
The CCP did the same thing with Simon Cheng, who was thankfully released after 15 days of incarceration, he was never formally charged. Cheng was simply held under administrative detention, as Lee likely is. Administrative detention allows for ‘suspects’ to be held for reasons that are not tantamount to criminal trespasses such as suspicious activity. It essentially amounts to 15 days of time under which to trump up charges or at least a story with which to discredit, or run the detainee’s reputation through the mud.
All of these baseless detentions come at a point when the Hong Kong protests have reached a pinnacle of fervor and violence. Police have begun using water cannons and storming public transportation to abuse unarmed, and under-aged, protesters, while continuing to use their previous methods of lobbing tear gas into crowds (a dangerous practice and not in line with proper use of the canisters) and shooting bean bag rounds, sometimes directly at the heads of peaceful protesters (which have permanently blinded at least two protesters), just to name a few.
Meanwhile, there are accusations of protesters throwing molotov cocktails, though photographic evidence shows these claims are highly suspect, as multiple pictures of ‘protesters’ throwing such petrol bombs have been recorded with handguns on their hips. This would seem to point to them being plants, likely Hong Kong police, CCP goons, triads, or a mixture of the three, though sometimes the differences are almost indistinguishably. Though more evidence must be uncovered before anyone could say with absolute certainty.
With the Hong Kong protests ever escalating, the anniversary of Mao declaring the establishment of the People’s Republic of China coming in October, and presidential elections looming in Taiwan and the United States the CCP may be understandably feeling the heat. Perhaps Xi and his government see this as a way to boost morale within their borders as they try to censor and combat growing calls for freedom and democracy in Hong Kong. Perhaps they’re trying to scare those outside their borders: those in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and elsewhere. It is probable that it’s both. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem to be working, and may be having the opposite effect. This can be most obviously seen in Hong Kong, but personal experience and polling data tell me it is also backfiring in Taiwan.
My sincere wish is that these stories have the same response throughout the world. I pray the international community wakes up to the evils of the Xi regime and start to do more than just shake their fingers. We need legislation, boycotts, divestments, and sanctions, so that there is no next Morrison Lee, Simon Cheng, Lee Ming-che, countless Tibetans, Uyghurs in East Turkestan, or anyone else hurt by the corrupt, murderous Chinese Communist Party.