Dear President Xi Jinping (習近平),
The undersigned are international scholars and writers from nations around the globe. We hereby express to you our deep concern about the disappearance of Lee Ming-che (李明哲) from Taiwan. Lee is a respected human rights worker, who in the past worked for the Democratic Progressive Party and who is now a program manager at Wenshan Community College in Taipei.
Lee disappeared on Sunday, March 19, when he entered China from Macau. It was not until March 29 that PRC authorities stated in a routine press conference that Mr Lee had been detained under circumstances that remain unexplained. This failure to notify the family within 24 hours violated both Mr Lee’s human rights and the Cross-Strait Joint Crime-Fighting and Judicial Mutual Assistance Agreement (海峽兩岸共同打擊犯罪及司法互助協議).
We are particularly concerned by the fact that the Taiwan Affairs Office announced on March 29 that Lee was being investigated on suspicion of “involvement in activities that threaten national security.”
We find this allegation to be at severe odds with the fact that Mr Lee is a human rights worker who attempted to enhance communication between people in Taiwan and China.
We are also disturbed by the fact that on April 10, the Chinese authorities prevented Mr Lee’s wife, Lee Ching-yu (李凈瑜), from boarding a flight to Beijing by cancelling her “Taiwan compatriot travel document.” This action also disregarded the human rights of this young couple and raises substantial doubts about the intentions of the Chinese authorities.
As is becoming clear, Mr Lee’s arrest and detention is detrimental to the mutual trust that is very much needed between Taiwan and China. We therefore urge you to assist in the speedy release of Mr Lee and his safe return to Taiwan.
Any lengthy detention or legal procedure will damage China’s image, not only in Taiwan, but in countries around the world that uphold due process of law and human rights.
Clive Ansley, Joseph Bosco, Richard Bush, Coen Blaauw,
Jie Chen, Wen-yen Chen,
Louisa Chiang, Michael Danielsen, Evan Dawley, June Dreyer, Feng Chongyi,
Carl Ford, Brock Freeman,
Edward Friedman, Mark Harrison, Michael Hoare, Thomas Hughes, Victoria Hui,
Michael Hunzeker, Sasa Istenic, Bruce Jacobs, Paul Jobin, Richard Kagan, Michael Y.M. Kau, Han-jung Ko, Raymond Kuo, Lut Lams, Perry Link, Ben Read, Shawna Yang Ryan, Michael Scanlon, David Schak,
Jonathan Schwartz, Scott Simon, Michael Stainton,
William Stanton, Peter Tague, Kharis Templeman, Ross Terrill, John Tkacik, Arthur Waldron, Gerrit van der Wees, Jack Williams, Yenna Wu