Taiwan to launch 80 China inquiries on suspicion of breaking residency laws

Taiwan set to arrest 80 its citizens working onshore in businesses linked to China, which wants government’s help in squeezing dissent

Taiwan’s interior ministry has said it will temporarily suspend Chinese business activities in the island by investigating 80 Taiwanese nationals suspected of working onshore in China in questionable business dealings, according to a media report.

The ministry will examine whether the overseas Chinese citizen’s businesses violated residency laws or exchange regulations, the Associated Press reported on Friday.

The report comes amid cross-strait tensions since China’s threat to cut Taiwan’s official diplomatic ties if it accepts President Tsai Ing-wen as the country’s leader, who took office last year on pledges to assert Taiwan’s sovereignty.

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“We expect Taiwan will swiftly handle this matter. Taiwan will continue to deepen public trust in the credibility of its laws and its justice system,” said Henk Lok, director general of the ministries’ foreign affairs bureau, according to the report.

Tensions in China’s largely-autonomous mainland have mounted in recent years, with Beijing vowing to deploy more men on the island to check what it says is a rising independence clamour.

In February, Chinese police confirmed a woman jailed last year in Tianjin for stealing rare books had ties to mainland security agencies, defying accusations from her defence lawyers that she had been illegally detained.

China in the past has prevented Taiwan’s diplomatic allies from sending information back to Taiwan after Chinese personnel visit their delegations, according to rights groups and news reports.

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