Taiwan, US ‘exchanged views on detained activist’

The China Post

By Joseph Yeh — Taiwan and U.S. have exchanged views on the case of a Taiwanese human rights activist who has been detained by the Chinese government, a Taiwan government official said Thursday.

Li Ming-che (李明哲), a program manager at Wenshan Community College, has been detained by Chinese authorities since he entered the country via Macau on March 19. Chinese authorities did not disclose his fate until March 27, when they revealed that Li was being held and investigated by state security police on suspicion of “endangering national security.” His location was not disclosed. Though Taiwan’s government said it had been doing its best to ensure Li’s safe return, it has achieved no concrete results so far, at a time when cross-strait relations have come to a virtual standstill. The Legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee on Wednesday passed a resolution asking the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to call for help from friends in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere to pressure Beijing into preserving Li’s personal safety. Asked to comment, Christine Hsueh (薛美瑜), director general of MOFA’s Department of North American Affairs, told local media that the ministry and the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) had exchanged views over the matter recently and that the U.S. side was closely following the case. “I believe our friends in the U.S., both in the Congress and in the administration, already have full knowledge of Li’s case,” she said.

The ministry will continue to work with relevant authorities to come up with a proper measure that is most “appropriate and beneficial” for the goal of Li’s safe homecoming, she said. AIT Public Diplomacy Section Chief Joseph Bookbinder told The China Post that the U.S. was aware of the case, but he declined to disclose further details. “We’re aware of the case. As a matter of practice, we do not publicly comment on the content of our diplomatic discussions,” he said.