The China Post news staff
Li Ming-che, a Taiwanese human rights activist, went to China on March 19 to share his experiences with his Chinese friends. The former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) staffer went missing not long after his arrival. Ten days later, a spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council in Beijing said Li had been detained on suspicion of endangering national security. He said Li was safe and sound but refused to reveal the activist’s whereabouts and the details of the charges.
Li’s wife Li Ching-yu made plans to visit China to “rescue her husband,” saying she was concerned that he lacked medication for his hypertension.
But mainland authorities sunk Li Ching-yu’s travel plans by invalidating her Taibaozheng (台胞証,Taiwan Compatriot Certificate) travel permit on the eve of her flight to Beijing on April 10.
After presiding over a DPP central standing committee meeting last Tuesday, President Tsai Ing-wen ordered her government to do everything they could to protect Li Ming-che’s rights and safety, as well as secure his release.
On her orders, the Mainland Affairs Council has redoubled efforts to get the activist released, albeit to no avail.
Its Chinese counterpart, the Taiwan Affairs Office, has refused contact because channels of communication have been closed since President Tsai took office on last May 20.
The Legislature adopted a DPP caucus proposal to issue a statement demanding Beijing to clarify Li’s charges, reveal his whereabouts, allow family visitation and release him immediately.
It seems naive at best for Li to go to China with the express intent of sharing his experiences in the human rights movement, knowing Beijing had just enacted a law regulating the registration, reporting and monitoring of nongovernmental organizations. Despite being aware he risked arrest on arrival, he still dared to go to talk with the friends.