Consider travel to China carefully, be vigilant of personal safety: MAC

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Taipei, June 7 (CNA) Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正), head of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), on Friday warned Taiwanese people to exercise careful deliberation before deciding to travel to China and to be vigilant of their personal safety when there.

Chiu made the comment while speaking to reporters ahead of a meeting of the full Legislature after the MAC, Taiwan’s top government agency handling cross-strait affairs, confirmed a day earlier that a member of a Taiwanese tour group traveling in China had been detained for several days.

The individual has been released and is now back in Taiwan, the MAC said, adding that it is investigating the details of what happened.

The MAC has also posted on platforms including Facebook to warn people to be vigilant of their personal safety. It also asks that those choosing to travel to China register on the online MAC platform.

According to the MAC deputy head and spokesperson, Liang Wen-chieh (梁文傑), this was the first time a tour group member had been detained.

The individual was on a five-day trip when they were taken away by Chinese authorities. They were released several days after the tour group had already returned to Taiwan, Liang said.

He added that tour guides or tour leaders should immediately notify the Tourism Administration within 24 hours should this happen to anyone in their group, citing regulations governing travel agencies.

According to the administration, it was notified about this incident.

The individual could have been detained possibly because they worked a “sensitive” profession before retirement, a source familiar with the matter said.

In a separate case, a user posted on the social media platform “Threads” on Wednesday, saying he traveled to Nanjing for an arts and books exhibition but was taken away by Chinese police for interrogation, during which he was forced to remove all his clothing for checks.

He was released a few days later, according to the post.

Responding to this incident while speaking to reporters before the Friday’s legislative meeting, Premier Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) warned Taiwanese to be wary of their safety when traveling to China as its legal system is unclear and legal procedures are deficient.

He added that the ban on tour travel to China starting June 1 will be reviewed on a rolling basis with changes dependent on important factors including safety and the quality of the travel experience.

The government originally decided to only allow tour groups scheduled to leave for China before May 31 to go ahead. However, Cho said on May 30 that Taiwanese group tours organized before June 1 could proceed as planned.

In addition, Chiu said the MAC was not pleased to see the magistrates of Yunlin and Kinmen counties applying to attend the 16th Straits Forum in China slated for June 15. He said the forum promotes united front work by the Chinese Communist Party disguised as an “exchange.”

He warned the magistrates to be aware of their personal safety and urged them to comply with Taiwan’s regulations on cross-strait exchanges.

(By Chen Chun-hua, Wu Po-wei, Wang Yang-yu, Yu Hsiao-han and Bernadette Hsiao)

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