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Li Yanhe confirmed to be detained in China

Li YanheLi Yanhe, a Taiwanese book publisher, was recently arrested in China.

According to Beijing, Li was arrested on charges of compromising national security.

Concerns about his disappearance immediately circulated online.

What happened?

Li Yanhe, also known as Fu Cha, was reportedly apprehended by Shanghai police in March.

According to Taiwan’s Central News Agency, he was detained immediately after arriving in March to visit his family and settle residence issues.

On Wednesday, a spokeswoman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office acknowledged that state security officials were looking into Li Yanhe.

Li was accused of engaging in acts that jeopardized state security, according to reports.

Crackdown on dissent

China has increased its attempts to crack down on dissent within and outside its borders under Xi Jinping’s leadership.

The arrest of Li Yanhe comes at a critical time in cross-strait ties.

China has jailed many Taiwanese individuals on state security concerns in recent years.

Despite never having governed Taiwan, China’s governing Communist Party considers it to be part of its territory.

The party has also refused to rule out using force to unite the island with mainland China.


Chinese officials reported Yang Chih-yuan’s detention on Tuesday.

Yang is a Taiwanese pro-independence political activist.

His arrest came more than eight months after he was imprisoned in the eastern Zhejiang province, prompting Taiwanese officials to warn citizens about the dangers of traveling to mainland China.

Taiwan’s Minister of Mainland Affairs Council, Chiu Tai-san, said on Wednesday that Yang’s arrest and Li’s imprisonment simply demonstrated China using its jurisdiction to intimidate and repress Taiwan.

Li Yanhe

Li Yanhe was born in the northern Chinese province of Liaoning in 1971.

Li relocated to Shanghai in his twenties to study literature and eventually work in the publishing sector.

Li later moved to Taiwan after marrying a Taiwanese woman in 2009.

Gusa Publishing was established subsequently in Taiwan’s capital, Taipei.

The firm published publications attacking the Chinese Communist Party and discussing political taboos in China, such as the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Wang Dan, a student leader in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, announced the publication of a collection of his articles by Li Yanhe’s Gusa Publishing.

Li got Taiwan citizenship, according to Wang, when he returned to Shanghai in March to resign his Chinese citizenship.

Chinese citizens are not permitted to immigrate to Taiwan for permanent residency or citizenship under Taiwanese immigration legislation.

However, there are certain exceptions for exceptional circumstances such as family reunification or investment.

Due to political tensions between Taiwan and China, Taiwanese authorities are often wary about permitting Chinese people to enter and stay in Taiwan.

Last Monday, a Mainland Affairs Council official in Taiwan stated that Li was safe, but declined to provide any details due to his family’s desires.

Gusa Publishing issued a post on Facebook on Monday, saying it will refrain from commenting on the matter in order to honor Li’s family, and thanked the public for their support of Li Yanhe.

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Alleged extremism

Wang Chia-hsuan is a former Gusa Publishing editor who spent eight years working with Li Yanhe.

Wang and Li’s pals, according to Wang, were always concerned about Li’s safety whenever he returned to China.

Wang Chia-hsuan characterized Li as devoted to their job and seeking a fresh perspective on Chinese history.

“He is not an extremist,” said Wang.

“All the work he published is of academic nature and is already out in the public domain.”

Over 40 Gusa authors and supporters, including Wang Dan and Wang Chia-hsuan, released a unified statement demanding for Li Yanhe’s release.

“In Taiwan, freedom of speech and publication, and academic freedom are like the air we breathe,” the statement said.

“They are part of daily life for every reader, every author, every translator and every editor.”

“Under Fu Cha’s leadership as editor-in-chief, Gusa’s books have been very diverse and deeply popular with Chinese-language readers around the world.”

“We believe Fu Cha has not committed any crime in enjoying the freedoms of speech and publishing.”

Another similar case

Many compared Li Yanhe’s imprisonment to another case involving five Hong Kong bookshop owners.

The five were connected to a bookstore that offered critical and often gossipy literature about China’s elite.

They went missing in late 2015 and were eventually found in Chinese police custody.

One of the booksellers, Lam Wing-kee, said he was seized by Chinese special forces as he crossed the border from Hong Kong to mainland China.

In 2016, he escaped bail and fled Hong Kong for Taipei, where he reopened his bookstore.

Meanwhile, fellow convict Gui Minhai went missing during a vacation in Thailand before being sentenced in 2020 for giving unlawful intelligence overseas.

Hong Kong was formerly a hotspot for persons wishing to publish politically controversial novels that would be prohibited in mainland China.

However, as Beijing tightens its control on the city following the passage of sweeping national security legislation, Taiwan has emerged as the latest hotspot.

Opinions expressed by US Business News contributors are their own.