Taiwan looks to legal action against mainland China ‘to get justice’ for worker hurt in Fiji row

22-Oct-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Taiwan is considering legal action in Fiji after vowing to get justice over an altercation at a Taiwanese national holiday event in the South Pacific country this month.

The latest incident has intensified already strained relations between Taipei and Beijing, with mainland China recently stepping up military threats against Taiwan.

This event hosted by the Taipei Trade Office in the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva on October 8 was the scene of an altercation that has spilled over into a diplomatic incident between Taiwan and mainland China. Photo: Grubsheet Feejee

This event hosted by the Taipei Trade Office in the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva on October 8 was the scene of an altercation that has spilled over into a diplomatic incident between Taiwan and mainland China. Photo: Grubsheet Feejee

Tensions erupted on October 8 when two staff members from China’s embassy in Fiji tried to force their way into a reception held by the Taiwanese representative office in Suva and take photos of the attendees. The mainland diplomats clashed physically with a Taiwanese worker at the event who tried to stop them. The Taiwanese employee was later treated in hospital for concussion, according to Taiwan’s foreign ministry.

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On Monday, the Chinese foreign ministry criticised Taiwan’s denouncement of the clash, calling it a “thief crying ‘stop thief’”, prompting an angered Taipei to seek proceedings in Fiji to try to have the case settled by legal means.

“We have reported the full account to both the police force and the foreign ministry in Fiji, along with witnesses and evidence, hoping this can help our foreign affairs staffer redeem justice,” Taiwanese Foreign minister Joseph Wu said before a legislature meeting in Taipei on Tuesday.

He condemned the mainland for causing the physical scuffle, which he said caused the injury of the staff member from Taiwan’s representative office in Suva.

“The Chinese government not only refused to re-examine the issue but even reversed the truth … Such Wolf Warrior diplomacy has created resentment all over the world,” Wu said, adding that taking advantage of Taiwan would not make China great.

Wu said Beijing had no right or power to interfere in any of Taiwan’s Double Tenth events held around the world to celebrate the founding of the Republic of China, Taiwan’s official title.

On Tuesday, Joanne Ou, a spokeswoman for Taiwan’s foreign ministry, called mainland China’s claims outrageous and irrational.

She confirmed that the Taiwanese representative office had already filed a complaint with the Fiji Police Force and it would work with Fiji’s foreign ministry on the case accordingly.

Ou said Taiwan’s foreign ministry would strengthen security for all its overseas foreign affairs offices and increase vigilance against similar actions by the mainland side in future.

Fiji’s foreign ministry and police did not reply to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, The Fiji Times reported on Tuesday that the Fiji Police Force would not carry out any further investigations in the case.

Acting Police Commissioner Rusiate Tudravu said the matter was being handled at the diplomatic level, action he said was agreed to by all parties involved.

“The Fiji Police Force, therefore, will not be conducting further investigations and we will not be making any further comments on the issue,” he was quoted as saying.

A Taiwanese diplomatic source said this was not the first time mainland Chinese envoys had tried to enter a Double Tenth celebration and other major events held by Taiwan’s representative offices abroad to take pictures of attendees as they gathered information about Taiwanese affairs overseas.

“They have been doing this often to try to stick their noses into the contacts between foreign dignitaries and Taiwanese envoys abroad, and on some occasions even ‘remind’ certain dignitaries not to get close to Taiwan,” the source said, adding that this was an aspect of Wolf Warrior diplomacy.

Beijing considers Taiwan part of its territory that must be brought under mainland control, by force if needed. It has pressured other countries and officials against having official contacts with the island and demanded that a number of foreign companies change the official title of Taiwan to Chinese province on their business websites.

Recently, it has stepped up military intimidation by flying warplanes into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone and staging live-fire exercises nearby to express what local media and analysts said were warnings against the island’s collaboration with the United States in countering Beijing.




Category: China, Taiwan

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