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2015年10月 4日 (日)

中国2邦人拘束 「法治」による統制が目に余る

The Yomiuri Shimbun
By arresting Japanese citizens, Xi displays high-handed rule by ‘law’
中国2邦人拘束 「法治」による統制が目に余る

The recent arrests of two Japanese nationals apparently symbolize efforts by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government to defend its one-party dictatorship at all costs by bolstering its domestic control even further.

The Japanese government announced that Chinese authorities detained one Japanese in Liaoning Province and another in Zhejian Province in May this year. The two are male civilians who traveled to China from Japan.

China’s Foreign Ministry said the two were arrested on suspicion of spying, and stressed they will be tried and punished under the law. However, the ministry has not disclosed any details of its suspicions.

China probably detained the two under its counterespionage law enforced in November. The law can be applied to the theft of national secrets, inciting public officials to sedition or bribing them, and activities deemed harmful to the safety of the country. It can also be applied to “any other spying activity.”

At a press conference, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said, “Our country has done no such thing.” He urged Beijing to release the two as soon as possible.

It is a matter of concern that Chinese authorities may arbitrarily interpret and apply ambiguous stipulations in the law. Japan, the United States and Europe must exercise caution against any attempt by China to use the “rule of law” as a tool for single-party control.

The man arrested in Liaoning Province is said to have visited Dandong, a major city at China’s border with North Korea. Meanwhile, Zhejian Province is a significant area hosting facilities of the Chinese navy. Japan cannot remain completely aloof of an espionage war by China or North Korea.

Law for one-party regime

It is feared that the detention period for the two, already four months long, will be extended further. Pre-indictment procedures in China take more time than those in the United States and Europe. In addition, opacity is expected to increase in a case related to national security.

In March, an American woman who visited China on a business tour reportedly was detained and investigated on suspicion of harming national security.

When Chinese authorities arrested four Japanese employees of midsize general contractor Fujita Corp. in 2010, some observers saw their arrests as revenge by Beijing for Japan’s actions after a Chinese fishing boat rammed a Japan Coast Guard vessel in seas off the Senkaku Islands.

Beijing may have intended to rattle Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government by using the arrests of the two Japanese citizens this time as a tool to put diplomatic pressure on Japan.

In addition to the anti-spying law, the Xi government put a new national security law into effect in July to enhance domestic security measures. Beijing must be seriously concerned about the stability of Chinese society amid its slowing economy.

The Chinese government also submitted a bill to put foreign nongovernmental organizations working in the country under government surveillance, fearing that values such as democracy and human rights from the United States and Europe would infiltrate into China.

If the Xi government turns its back to international criticism and continues its coercive rule of the country, it will only further show that China is an “aberrant superpower.”

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 3, 2015)


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