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Thursday, Oct 29, 2020

Taiwanese, Belizean arrested in China for supporting Hong Kong protests

Lee Meng-chu charged with illegally providing national secrets and spying for foreign forces. Belize passport holder arrested on charges of funding ‘anti-China’ organisations in US

Chinese authorities have confirmed the arrest of two overseas passport holders for their roles in supporting Hong Kong protests, mainland media reported on Saturday.

Lee Meng-chu, a Taiwanese man, was arrested by the Shenzhen National Security Commission on October 31 on charges of illegally providing national secrets and spying for foreign forces, Guangzhou Daily reported, citing sources from the commission.
“Lee Meng-chu is a core member of a Taiwan independence organisation, who went to Hong Kong in August to engage in activities against China and cause chaos in Hong Kong, and sneaked into the mainland to spy for military secrets,” the report said.

Chinese authorities previously said they were investigating Lee for “activities that endanger state security”. He went missing after entering Hong Kong and was believed to have crossed the border into Shenzhen in August. He reportedly distributed images of mainland troops massing equipment near Hong Kong, which has seen months of violent protests triggered by the now-withdrawn extradition bill that would have enabled the transfer of criminal suspects to the mainland.

Meanwhile, a Belizean named Lee Henley Hu Xiang was also arrested by the Guangzhou National Security Commission on November 26 on charges of funding criminal activities that harmed national security.

According to the authorities, Lee Henley Hu Xiang had been living in China as a businessman and was providing funding for anti-China organisations in the US “for a long period of time”, helping organisations and individuals harm Chinese national security. He was accused of supporting forces that engage in activities against China and causing chaos in Hong Kong, as well as colluding with foreign forces to meddle with Hong Kong affairs.

It is unclear if the Belizean citizen is an ethnic Chinese. Belize is one of 15 countries which maintains diplomatic ties with Taiwan. It has no diplomatic relations with Beijing.

Beijing has repeatedly claimed foreign black hands were behind the Hong Kong protests. In a statement on November 17 China’s foreign ministry representative in Hong Kong said an annual report by a US congressional commission that monitors the national security implications of US-China relations “laid bare the evil intention of anti-China forces”.

“The report has provided more solid evidence that the anti-China forces in the US are exactly the black hand behind the chaos in Hong Kong, who have been caught on the spot,” the statement said, adding that the US report “laid bare the evil intentions of anti-China forces in the US”.

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi and other Chinese diplomats have also repeatedly blamed “foreign forces” for fanning the months of violence in Hong Kong. The US has refuted the claims.

On Tuesday, the US-based National Democratic Institute hit back at accusations from Beijing that it was a “black hand” in Hong Kong, calling the claim “patently false” and an attempt to spread misinformation.

In August, Simon Cheng, a British consulate worker, was detained as he was returning to Hong Kong from Shenzhen on a business trip. In a public Facebook statement on November 20, Cheng claimed he was tortured and interrogated during his two-week detention about the UK’s role, as well as his own, in the Hong Kong protests, as well as his relations with mainlanders who joined the protests.

Following Cheng’s statement, the Chinese authorities released videos saying Cheng was arrested purely for soliciting prostitution. But Cheng claimed he was forced to make that confession.

Lee Meng-chu, who works for a volunteer group in Fangliao township, a fishing community in Taiwan’s Pingtung county, entered Hong Kong on August 18, according to Taiwan’s government-run Central News Agency, which also earlier reported he had sent photos to his brother and to Chen Ya-lin, the head of Fangliao township, showing paramilitary troops and equipment on Hong Kong’s border with mainland China.


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