Thu, Dec 05, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Alliance condemns Lee’s arrest for ‘separatism’

By Su Yung-yao and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Taiwan United Nations Alliance member Morrison Lee, who was arrested in Shenzhen, China, in October, after being detained in August, holds a certificate of appointment as a township government adviser in an undated file photograph.

Photo: Ching Li-hua, Taipei Times

Taiwan United Nations Alliance spokesman Tseng Tsung-kai (曾琮愷) decried the arrest of alliance member Morrison Lee (李孟居), saying that the reasons cited by the Chinese media for his arrest implied that more than half of Taiwan’s population would be unable to visit China

Lee was arrested in Shenzhen, China, on Oct. 31 over his involvement in “Taiwanese separatist” activities and his support for “unrest in Hong Kong,” the Global Times reported yesterday.

Lee was also allegedly prying into Chinese military secrets, it said.

The Guangdong Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper first reported the arrest on Saturday last week, saying that Lee was lawfully arrested for “probing and disseminating national secrets.”

The alliance promotes Taiwan’s admission to the UN, which would mean recognizing it as a nation — tantamount to Taiwanese independence, the Global Times said.

In August, when unrest in Hong Kong intensified, members of the Chinese People’s Armed Police were training in Shenzhen, it said.

Lee took pictures of the training and sent them to a recipient in Taiwan, it said, equating the alleged actions to “probing military secrets.”

“The arrest of Morrison Lee is meant to send a clear message that external interference [in Hong Kong] will not prevail,” the Global Times said.

Beijing is ignorant about the democracy that has been developing in Taiwan since 2000 and ignores the will of Taiwanese, Tseng said, adding that Taiwanese would oppose the “one country, two systems” formula that China has repeatedly insisted on implementing in Taiwan.

“Many Taiwanese have donated funds to the Democratic Progressive Party and other pro-localization parties, and have participated in political activities by these parties. Would they all be seen by China as ‘separatists?’” Tseng said.

Lee’s work with the alliance was of a voluntary nature, he said, adding that anyone involved with pro-localization groups in Taiwan apparently risk arrest for subversion if they visit China.

The Chinese Communist Party should provide concrete evidence that Lee had sought military secrets and be specific about what he was allegedly looking into, Tseng said.

Images of the activities of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have been shared on the popular Hong Kong online forum LIHKG, as well as in reports by CNN and the BBC, he said, implying that such images were widely available.

“Even if Morrison Lee took a picture and sent it back [to a recipient in Taiwan], that was just a picture of many PLA officers gathered together. There is no intelligence value in that,” Tseng said.

Chinese efforts at intimidation would only strengthen “Taiwanese values” and reinforce the resolve of Taiwanese to support pro-localization parties, he said.

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