After China’s expansive anti-espionage law took effect on July 1, the Taiwan Statebuilding Party (TSP) chairman Wang Sing-huan urged the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) to upgrade travel advisory for citizens traveling to China, Macau, and Hong Kong. 

In a press conference yesterday, Wang criticized China’s Foreign Relations Law and the expanded Espionage Law, calling them a threat to “global safety” and are designed to “harm human rights.”

Wang coined the law as “the Empire’s manifesto,” saying that the new law can be arbitrarily interpreted by Beijing and allowed Chinese authorities to assert extraterritorial jurisdiction over citizens from other countries.

According to the full text of the Anti-Espionage law published by Chinese state media Xinhua News Agency in April, the law extends the definition of spy acts to “cyber attacks” against state organs or critical information infrastructure. It also allows authorities to carry out anti-spy investigation by “gaining access to data, electronic equipment, information on personal property”, as well as delegating their rights to “ban border entries.” 

Wang urged Taiwan’s MAC to follow U.S. policy of issuing “Level 3” travel advisory, which warns citizens to “reconsider travel” to China and Macau, just one level short of a “Do not travel” warning, out of the four-tier system. 

Hong Kong is listed as a “Level 2” territory in the U.S. travel advisory system, which reminds its citizens to “exercise increased caution” during the trip.

In response to the law, Jan Jyh-horng, the MAC’s spokesperson, warned in a press conference in June that Taiwanese lawmakers, scholars, and students could be subjected to questioning and searches of devices when passing through Chinese borders. 

The MAC said it was aware of cases of Taiwanese nationals who were held, questioned, and indefinitely detained by Chinese authorities, which is “an act of breaching cross-Strait law enforcement cooperation agreements,” Jan said.

The MAC published a notice yesterday on its official website, warning citizens to consider the risk of personal safety before traveling to China. Yet the council maintained the travel advisory level “in yellow light,” saying that it is equivalent to the Level 3 “Reconsider travel” warning issued by the U.S. Department of State recently. 

The MAC also suggested that citizens pre-register their trip to China, Hong Kong, and Macau in the government’s system to ensure immediate assistance in times of emergency.

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TNL Editor: Kim Chan (@thenewslensintl)

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