Detained human rights advocate Lee Ming-che’s (李明哲) wife is to forgo the right to legal counsel and fly to Beijing in search of her husband, Lee Ching-yu (李淨瑜) said yesterday.
“Our government will put in the effort they will put in, but as a family member I cannot do nothing,” Lee Ching-yu told a news conference in Taipei. “I have to take action because every second and minute is torment for my husband.”
She said her decision had been made earlier the same day, adding that she had yet to inform the Straits Exchange Foundation.
A former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) staffer who works at Wenshan Community College in Taipei, Lee Ming-che went missing last week after entering Guangzhou on what his wife has said was a visit to share Taiwan’s experience of democratization with Chinese.
Beijing confirmed on Wednesday that he has been detained because of his “involvement in activities that threaten China’s national security.”
While family members and lawyers have a right to visit the detained under 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), China suspended its implementation of the agreement when President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office last year.
The Chinese government has yet to announce what charges are to be brought against Lee Ming-che, Lee Ching-yu said, adding that she has decided against hiring a lawyer.
“Any legal defense is useless because China’s laws are not based on universal values,” she said, adding that she would focus on humanitarian concerns and human rights.
“I will not acknowledge any admission of guilt or other statement from my husband until I see him face to face, because it could be something forced from him by threats,” she said.
Beijing was chosen as her destination because Chinese authorities have yet to announce where Lee Ming-che is being held, she said, adding she would travel there “within the next few days.”