UN to investigate case of Taiwan advocate missing in China


TAIPEI — The United Nations has agreed to investigate the case of a Taiwan pro-democracy advocate arrested in China in March, a Taiwan-based human rights groups said late Wednesday.

According to Covenants Watch, the U.N. Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances said that the case of Lee Ming-che’s disappearance in China will be discussed in its next session, set for September 11-15 in Geneva.

“The highly urgent case has drawn attentions from the U.N.,” Covenants Watch chief executive officer Huang Yi-bee told dpa.

It is the first time the U.N.’s human rights mechanism is taking a case about Taiwan, a non-U.N. member, because the alleged violator, China, is a U.N. member, Huang said.

The working group also transmitted the case to China under its urgent action procedure.

Lee, 42, went missing on March 19 when he entered China from Macau.

In late May, the Beijing government accused Lee of “subversion of state power,” confirming that he had been arrested by police in Hunan province.

Both requests by Lee’s family to visit him and human rights organizations’ calls on China to immediately release the Taiwan citizen have fallen on deaf ears.

Lee’s wife, Lee Ching-yu, in May appealed to the United States for assistance at a House of Representatives committee hearing in Washington.

The European Parliament on Thursday is scheduled to vote on a resolution on the case of Lee, as well as that of Chinese Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, who was released in late June on medical parole for treatment of late-stage liver cancer.