Houston Community News >> China Arrests Two Taiwan Businessmen Spies

11/15/2006 BEIJING (Reuters) -- China has arrested two Taiwan businessmen suspected of spying for the self-ruled island Beijing considers its own, a government spokesman said on Wednesday, confirming a report in Taiwan media.

Communist China and democratic Taiwan have been spying on each other since defeated Nationalist forces fled to the island at the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949.

"This is true, and the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait has informed their families," Li Weiyi, spokesman for China's Taiwan Affairs Office, said of the Taiwan media report.

He did not elaborate. The association deals with Taiwan affairs in the absence of official ties.

Taiwan's United Daily News said last week that the two had been arrested in southern China for providing military secrets to Taiwan, which China has vowed to attack if it ever formally declares independence.

Despite the political animosity, trade and tourism have blossomed since the late 1980s and as many as a million Taiwan citizens live in China.

China also arrests its own citizens for spying for Taiwan.

In 1999, a Chinese major-general and a senior colonel were executed for selling state secrets to Taiwan, for $1.6 million, in the biggest espionage scandal of the Communist era.

(Contributed by Reuters)