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TAO urges restraint by media in MAC drama

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) said yesterday that mainland China has taken notice of the reports on former Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Deputy Minister Chang Hsien-yao, urging the media not to make irresponsible and groundless claims detrimental to cross-strait relations.

The Taipei District Prosecutors Office (TDPO) said yesterday that a prosecutor has been assigned to investigate whether or not Chang had leaked classified information.

An order was subsequently put out to restrict Chang from leaving the country

Chang is suspected of committing treason and violating the Classified National Security Information Protection Act. Investigations into instances of the former are carried out by the Taiwan High Prosecutors Office, whereas the investigations related to the latter are carried out by district prosecutors.

The Investigation Bureau on Thursday discussed the case with the Taiwan High Prosecutors Office, but failed to reach a conclusion on the applicability of treason charges. The case was submitted to the TDPO on the following day.

In terms of treason charges, Chang is specifically suspected of violating Article 114 of the Criminal Code, which reads: “Any person entrusted by the government with the duty of conducting business with a foreign government who betrays (its) trust and causes injury to the Republic of China shall be sentenced to life imprisonment or imprisonment not less than seven years.”

According to Taiwanese law, cross-strait relations are not defined as state-to-state, and since the aforementioned offense is committed by a person who is entrusted to conduct business with a “foreign government,” there is considerable controversy over whether or not Chang can be thus charged, which is one of the main reasons why the Taiwan High Prosecutors Office did not take on the case.

The Investigation Bureau decided to bring the case to the TDPO instead for an investigation based on whether or not Chang had violated the Classified National Security Information Protection Act. The Investigation Bureau agent assigned to the case arrived at the TDPO at around 8:30 a.m. and had an hourlong discussion with district prosecutors, during which it was decided that the TDPO would head the investigation.

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The People First Party's candidate for Taipei councilor Chen Kai-wu (陳蓋武) and his supporters raise signs above their heads in support of former Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Deputy Minister Chang Hsien-yao in Taipei, yesterday. (CNA)

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