Taiwanese (ROC) flags in front of the Control Yuan in Taipei

A Taiwanese citizen surnamed Yang (楊) was detained in China for publicly displaying the flag of Taiwan.

According to Taiwan-based “Liberty Times”, on October 15 Mr. Yang visited the Sun Yat-sen Memorial in the Chinese city of Nanjing. After he took pictures holding the flag of the Republic of China (ROC), Mr. Yang was surrounded by staff and asked to hand them the flag. When he refused, the staff called the police.

Mr. Yang was subsequently detained and taken to a local police station at around 10.40 a.m. He was asked to give a statement, hand over the ROC flag and his mobile phone. The police demanded that he delete all of the pictures and videos on his phone showing the ROC flag, as well as some Facebook posts. He was also asked to write a “letter of remorse”. He was released at around 3 p.m.

In a Facebook post Mr. Yang later stated that the police interrogated him about his “political opinions” as well as his “family background”. “I have experienced it personally,” he wrote. “Doing this kind of thing in mainland [China] is very serious!”

Sun Yat-sen is the founder of the Republic of China (ROC), established after the overthrow of the last imperial dynasty in 1911. The Sun Yat-sen Memorial was built in 1929 in Nanjing, then capital of the ROC.

In the 1940s the Communists led by Mao Zedong overthrew the ROC and proclaimed the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The ROC government fled to Taiwan, where it has de facto existed ever since.

The PRC views Taiwan as part of its territory and has vowed to bring about “reunification“, if necessary by force.

Beijing is particularly sensitive about the diplay of the ROC flag.

Recently Apple bowed to pressure from the PRC and reportedly removed the Taiwanese flag emoji from its Apple iPhone keyboard for users in Hong Kong and Macau. Since 2017 the Taiwanese flag has been censored on iPhones and iPads sold in China.

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