Taiwan president condemns OC church shooting – Press Enterprise

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan’s president has condemned the shooting at a Taiwanese church in California by a man allegedly fueled by hatred for the island, while a lawmaker from her ruling party questioned whether Chinese propaganda was a factor. motivator behind the violence.

President Tsai Ing-wen’s office issued a statement Tuesday saying she condemned “any form of violence,” expressed condolences to the dead and injured, and asked the island’s top representative to the United States to fly to California to provide assistance. .

David Chou, 68, of Las Vegas, was expected to appear in California state court Tuesday on suspicion of murder and attempted murder. Police said he hid firebombs before Sunday’s shooting at a gathering of mostly elderly Taiwanese worshipers at the Laguna Woods church. One man was killed and five people were injured, the oldest 92. A federal hate crime investigation is also ongoing.

Chou, who said he was born in China and is a US citizen, apparently had a grievance with the Taiwanese community, police said. Chou was born in Taiwan in 1953, Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported, citing the head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles, Taiwan’s de facto consulate in the city.

According to Taiwanese media, Chou had ties to a China-backed organization that opposes Taiwan independence, although details could not be immediately confirmed.

Chinese embassy spokesman Liu Pengyu told the AP by email that the Chinese government has “consistently condemned incidents of violence. We express our condolences to the victims and our deepest condolences to the grieving families and the injured.”

China claims Taiwan as its own territory to be annexed by force if necessary and regularly denounces Tsai, her ruling Democratic Progressive Party and their foreign supporters in increasingly violent terms.

Tensions between China and Taiwan are at their highest point in decades, with Beijing intensifying its military harassment by flying warplanes towards the autonomous island.

In Taiwan, DPP lawmaker Lin Ching-yi said that “ideology has become a motive for genocide” in a message on her Facebook page.

Lin said Taiwanese must “confront hate speech and organizations” backed by China’s ruling Communist Party, highlighting the United Front Work Department that seeks to promote China’s political agenda in Taiwan and among overseas Chinese communities. .

The United States is Taiwan’s main political and military ally, although it does not extend the island’s formal diplomatic ties in deference to Beijing.

Bi-khim Hsiao, Taiwan’s de facto ambassador, tweeted Monday that she was “shocked and saddened by the fatal shooting at the Irvine Taiwan Presbyterian Church in California.”

“I join the families of the victims and the Taiwanese American communities in mourning and praying for the speedy recovery of the injured survivors,” Hsiao wrote.

Chou’s hatred of the island, documented in handwritten notes found by authorities, appears to have started when he felt he was not being treated well while living there.

A former neighbor said Chou’s life fell apart after his wife left him and his mental health had worsened.

Chou’s family appeared to be among the estimated 1 million mainland Chinese refugees who moved to Taiwan around the time of the communists’ rise to power in mainland China in 1949.

The former Japanese colony had only been handed over to the Nationalist Chinese government in 1945 at the end of World War II, and relations between mainlanders and native Taiwanese were often strained.

Separated by language and lifestyle, incidents of intimidation and confrontation between the factions were frequent.

Many young people from the mainland, concentrated in major cities, joined violent organized crime gangs with ties to the Chinese military and secret societies, in part to defend themselves against Taiwanese rivals.

The Presbyterian Church is the most prominent of the Christian dominations in Taiwan and was closely identified with the pro-democracy movement during decades of the martial law era and later with the cause of Taiwan’s independence.

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