The China Post staff
Justin Yifu Lin, the alleged Taiwan defector who is now a key adviser to Beijing leaders, is likely to give up his homecoming for his father’s funeral despite Taipei’s approval of his controversial return plan, a relative said yesterday. Lin Wang-sung said his younger brother in Beijing did not expect a low-key return to his hometown of Ilan to create so much controversy out of misunderstanding. “He (Justin) only wanted to attend Father’s funeral, fulfilling the duty of a son,” said the elder brother after he had talked over the phone Thursday with the former army captain who swam from the offshore island of Kinmen for defection in 1979. After defection, Justin Lin went to the United States to obtain a Ph.D. degree in economics from the University of Chicago. He now teaches at Beijing University. A World Bank advisor, he is a chief architect for China’s economic reform. “We talked about the risk of Justin’s coming back,” said the older Lin, “and he seems ready to forget about the whole plan.”
He added his sister-in-law will come back from Beijing to Ilan to attend the funeral service on June 4 on Justin’s behalf. Taipei finally decided to allow the defector-turned scholar to return to attend the funeral and face the consequences of his defection. Before reaching the decision, the authorities concerned had found some legal problems stood in the way despite Premier Yu Shyi-kun’s promise to consider Lin’s application for a home return favorably. President Chen Shui-bian, though agreeing with the premier, gave no instructions on how to solve the problems, the United Evenings quoted presidential office sources as saying. They revealed that Lin’s visa application was handled by Chiou I-jen, secretary-general of the National Security Council. “There are problems that have to be dealt with,” and Lin would not be “free to come and free to go,” the sources said. Please see LIN on page
The Ministry of National Defense maintains that Justin has to be courtmartialed for his defection. In stark contrast to their initial support for Lin’s return on humanitarian grounds, many lawmakers have made an about-face by joining a campaign condemning the renowned economic scholar as an unforgivable traitor. Most of the lawmakers speaking at a legislative forum demanded that Lin not be allowed to come back, saying his return would only dampen the military’s morale. Even if he were issued a visa, he would have to be arrested and investigated once setting foot on Taiwan, some lawmakers demanded. Kuomintang Legislator Chi Kuo-tung said prosecutors should investigate the Lin case, or they would be guilty of dereliction of duty. People First Party Legislator Chiu Yi pointed out that humanitarian considerations and Lin’s status as a key economic adviser to Beijing leaders should not obscure the fact that he was a defector. Allowing him to return without prosecution would be unfair to his military colleagues who were punished because of his crime, Chiu added. A fellow legislator, Chen Chih-pin, said that the defector also compromised national security. Legislator Chen Tsung-yi from the Democratic Progressive Party was even harsher, saying time would not change the fact that Lin was a deserter, who should face the firing squad for his crime. Giving Lin a hero’s welcome back home would be blurring the distinction “between right and wrong, between friend and foe,” Chen said. Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Su Ying-kuei said such a deceitful and dishonest man as Lin should be arrested once he got off the plane, and escorted by police to his hometown for the funeral. Taiwan has been showering too much praise on Lin, and the government’s handling of him would set a “very bad” precedent for similar cases to follow, Su said. KMT Legislator Sun Kuo-hua even alleged that Lin’s return plan was the result of a secret deal between President Chen Shui-bian and mainland leaders.