Taiwanese activist’s wife urges Beijing to reveal his whereabouts

By Stephanie Chao, The China Post

The wife of Taiwanese human rights activist Lee Ming-che’s (李明哲), Lee Ching-yu (李凈瑜), urged Chinese authorities on Wednesday to reveal where he is currently being detained and release him.

Lee was responding to Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office’s (TAO) official confirmation of her husband’s arrest. Through a press release, Lee demanded the Chinese authorities “immediately publicize the whereabouts of Lee Ming-che” and adhere to international human rights standards by providing a fair ruling. She also sought a number of guarantees from Beijing: that Lee would not be subject to torture; that he would be approved to receive visits from family members and his lawyer, and that he could receive medical care. The TAO confirmed in its weekly Wednesday press conference that authorities were holding Lee in detention on suspicion of “endangering national security” and that he was currently being investigated. However, the TAO did not disclose where Lee was being held. TAO spokesman Ma Xiaoguang confirmed that Lee was in good health, despite Lee’s wife stressing that her husband required medication for his high blood pressure during a Tuesday press conference. Wife Supports Lee’s Innocence Having known her husband for 20 years, Lee said that he supported human rights and public issues, and specifically paid close attention to human rights issues in mainland China. Lee also shared Taiwan’s democratic experience with Chinese friends via the Internet, his wife said, emphasizing that “such actions are considered to be legal in civilized countries.” Much of what has transpired suggests that Lee’s arrest is tied to Beijing’s “Management of Foreign Non-Government Organizations Activities in China,” which officially went into effect this year, his wife said. She added that her husband had once shipped books to friends who are Chinese human rights activists — books that were later seized by Chinese authorities. His Wechat account was also blocked.

The three books touched on the Cultural Revolution, Sino-Japanese relations and the former leader of the People’s Republic of China, Mao Zedong. When questioned on how Lee entered China, his wife said that he first arrived in Macau. Lee had told her that upon arriving in Zhuhai City, a friend would arrive and pick him up. However, after reports of Lee going missing came to light, media outlets tracked down the individual scheduled to meet Lee, who revealed that they had never picked up Lee from the airport, meaning that he most likely was arrested upon arrival and never left the airport. His wife explained that her husband’s trip to China occurred once each year, mainly to visit friends. President Cheng Hsiu-chuan of Wenshan Community College in Taipei City, where Lee works in an administrative position, said that he is a low-key and prudent person, especially when discussing human rights issues. On this occasion, aside from visiting friends, Lee had reportedly been in China to seek a medical evaluation for his mother-in-law. The Democratic Progressive Party also issued an official statement urging the Chinese authorities to reveal Lee’s location and also to allow visiting rights for his family members.