Wed, Nov 29, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Taiwan blasts Lee’s conviction in China

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

A video grab from footage on the Web site of Yueyang Intermediate People’s Court yesterday shows Taiwanese human rights advocate Lee Ming-cheh, right, appearing in court in Yueyang, Hunan Province, China.

Photo: AFP / Yueyang Intermediate People’s Court

Taiwan yesterday condemned the conviction of Taiwanese human rights advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲) by a Chinese court, saying it is “unacceptable” that Lee should be found guilty of state subversion for advocating democracy and freedom.

“The nation cannot accept that Lee Ming-che has been convicted of such a crime as state subversion for sharing the ideas of democracy and freedom,” Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) said, calling for Lee’s immediate release.

Lee’s case has greatly damaged cross-strait relations and threatened Taiwanese belief in freedom and democracy, Huang said.

The Mainland Affairs Council also condemned the verdict, saying Lee’s online exchanges with his Chinese friends were an innocent effort to share Taiwan’s democratic experience, which did not compromise China’s safety and security in any way.

It was also unacceptable that former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Wang Li-ping (王麗萍), who accompanied Lee’s wife, Lee Ching-yu (李凈瑜), to Yueyang, Hunan Province, to hear the verdict, was denied entry and deported, the council said.

China should ensure the safety of Lee Ching-yu and members of her group and their return to Taiwan, the council said.

It should also ensure Lee Ming-che’s health and right to family visits during his confinement, it said, adding that the government would continue its efforts to seek his return.

Politicians across party lines also condemned the verdict and urged the government to safeguard the rights of Taiwanese.

“There should not be, and could not possibly be, political prisoners in a truly democratic, free and law-observing country,” the DPP said in a statement.

The verdict “indicates China’s indifference to the universal values of democracy and human rights, and damages its international reputation, while hurting the feeling of Taiwanese,” the DPP said.

Beijing should respect Taiwan’s belief in democracy and freedom, as Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) said during the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 19th National Congress last month, the DPP said.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) said the council needs to step in wherever Lee Ming-che’s rights are compromised during and after the trial, even though cross-strait relations and communication have cooled since the DPP administration took office.

The DPP administration would be sacrificing people’s rights for its ideology if it fails to communicate with Beijing over Lee’s condition, KMT spokesman Hung Meng-kai (洪孟楷) said.

The New Power Party (NPP) urged the government to take a tougher stance against China as cross-strait agreements are ineffective in Lee’s case, and passivity would only compromise personal freedom and the freedom of expression of Taiwanese.

Lee Ming-che is innocent and the Chinese government is guilty of illegally detaining him, violating human rights and cracking down on political dissidents, the NPP said.

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