Yang Chih-yuan, arrested on August 3, in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, is now being held incommunicado in a Chinese detention facility. Yang was arrested for his advocacy for Taiwan independence as part of retaliation by the People’s Republic of China for the recent visit of Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan.
Yang is a political pawn in a battle between the PRC which has arrested him and the exiled Republic of China he has long advocated against. Prospects for an early release do not look promising as the PRC seems determined to make an example of Yang. The Chinese newspaper Global Times is an organ for government propaganda and its report on Yang’s arrest does not bode well for the Taiwanese activist. Yang is accused of “suspicion of engaging in separatist activities and endangering national security.”
“Yang has been poisoned by thoughts of “Taiwan independence” secessionism for a long time and in 2006, when he was in middle school, he started to be engaged in secessionist activities.”
“In 2008, Yang was chosen by the Democratic Progressive Party for cultivation as he was actively involved in the “Wild Strawberries Movement,” a protest movement in the island of Taiwan in November 2008 after the visit of Chen Yunlin, chairman of the mainland’s Association for Relations across the Taiwan Straits, to the island. Yang was later appointed as the head of the DPP youth league in Taichung and became an important member of the secessionist forces in the island.”
“In 2011, Yang took part in forming “Taiwanese National Party” and actively schemed a series of secessionist activities in an attempt to “build a country through referendum.” In 2019, Yang took the position as the vice chairman of “Taiwanese National Party” and clamored to push “Taiwan independence” more hastily and aggressively.”
“Yang colluded with separatist forces to support Hong Kong secessionists and incited secessionist forces to work together, which were a provocation to China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The official Xinhua news agency said Yang had allegedly been attempting to establish “an illegal organization with the aim to push for Taiwan to become a sovereign state and join the United Nations.”
The Taiwan affairs ministry of the Chinese government has warned of punishing “die-hard Taiwan independence elements” who have “recklessly carried out separatist activities.”
“Their separatist acts and remarks are flagrant provocations against China’s national sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the sanctity of law. They have also severely jeopardized the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”
“Any individual or organization that…engages in activities jeopardizing national security shall be investigated…convicted and punished for secession.”
Yang, arrested for his advocacy against the ROC in Taiwan, is also seen as a threat by the PRC highlighting the confused international status of Taiwan. Most recent news reports on the PRC escalation against the ROC for control of Taiwan gloss over the lack of sovereignty by the ROC as the central issue in the dispute. It is as though the Chinese civil war never ended and now the Taiwanese public is trapped in a quagmire known as the “strategic ambiguity.” American offers of support talk about Taiwan, however mean the ROC. How eager the ROC government is to see a critic like Yang come home is unclear.
Yang Chih-yuan’s long advocacy for a Republic of Taiwan has now attracted an international audience with his arrest. Yang’s fight for Taiwan’s freedom is no longer waged with banners and flyers but with his most precious weapon, his freedom.