Sun, Jul 16, 2017 - Page 6 News List

[ LETTER ]

Liu highlights Lee’s peril

The Nobel Peace Prize winner and Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) died on Thursday after a fight with cancer.

The whole world has joined in condemning China for its dereliction of respect for human rights, maliciously countenancing the protraction of Liu’s illness by denying him proper palliative care.

The overseas media, meanwhile, has also pointed out that this whole sorry affair will do precious little to allay concerns about China and its intentions toward Taiwan and Hong Kong.

The question is whether there is any hope that any of this will actually make the Chinese government reflect upon its actions and do anything to change in a positive direction.

The answer, unfortunately, has to be in the negative.

Indeed, the more likely scenario is that the Chinese authorities will do all within their power to devise all manner of pompous reasoning in its attempts to shift the blame elsewhere.

If the Chinese government has the confidence and gall to be so callous in the death of an internationally renowned human rights activist such as Liu, then anyone else it deems guilty of subversive acts or intent against the government can have little hope of any guarantees when it comes to their basic human rights.

This certainly bodes extremely badly for the safety and fate of Taiwanese human rights advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲), who was detained by the Chinese authorities at the end of March.

China continues to hold Lee in detention, all the while alleging that he was involved in activity that threatened national security, but completely failing to provide even the most basic facts or evidence to support these allegations, reveal any details about the progress of the investigation thus far, or reveal any details about Lee’s not-guilty plea or his defense to the allegations made.

Nor does the outside world know anything of Lee’s physical condition or any information pertaining to concerns for his safety. The authorities have refused his family access or visiting rights.

This kind of totalitarian behavior is absolutely maddening.

Given this state of affairs, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and her government should remonstrate in the strongest terms and demand that the Chinese authorities not only release information about Lee’s physical condition, but also allow his family access to see him.

They should also demand that Beijing carry out a fair, open hearing process and allow Lee the right to defend himself and, through human rights organizations and other national governments throughout the world, continue to put pressure on China until this is done.

Tsai and her administration cannot allow a Taiwanese citizen to receive unfair, unjust treatment at the hands of China.

Chen Ho-wen

Taipei

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