The government should reject any Chinese attempts to link detained Taiwanese Lee Ming-che’s (李明哲) case with that of an alleged Chinese spy, campaigners said yesterday.
The college lecturer and former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) staffer disappeared last month shortly after entering Guangzhou, China, from Macau on what his wife has said was a mission to share Taiwan’s democratization experience with Chinese friends.
Chinese authorities have yet to announce any formal charges against Lee or say where he is being held.
Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times
“What is important is not what Lee did, but that the Chinese government should treat anyone like this,” Taiwan Association for Human Rights secretary-general Chiu E-ling (邱伊翎) said. “We still respect legal procedures in arresting suspected Chinese spies — we do not forbid their families from seeing them or prevent them from getting a lawyer.”
Lee’s detention, reportedly on “national security” grounds, came shortly after former Chinese student Zhou Hongxu (周泓旭) was arrested in Taiwan last month on espionage charges, leading to speculation that Lee had been seized in retribution.
“It would be unacceptable for him to be treated as a hostage to facilitate a political swap,” Chiu said, adding that if Lee’s detention continues, the government’s continuing low-key response might not be the “best way” to save him.
While the DPP and Mainland Affairs Council have issued statements about Lee’s case, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has yet to address it directly.
Straits Exchange Foundation officials are to accompany Lee’s wife, Lee Ching-yu (李凈瑜), when she flies to Beijing on Monday to attempt to locate her husband.
The Taiwan Association for Human Rights and other groups yesterday published the results of an international campaign to protest Lee Ming-che’s detention, saying that an online petition calling for his release had more than 9,000 signatures and a local petition drive has collected more than 10,000.
In related news, the DPP and New Power Party (NPP) legislative caucuses yesterday proposed a resolution denouncing the Chinese government’s detention of Lee Ming-che.
The proposal said that Chinese authorities have detained him for almost two weeks, but refused to acknowledge his family members’ rights to visit him, guaranteed 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) signed in 2009.
The two caucuses called on the legislature to issue a resolution expressing a “serious protest” against Beijing’s arbitrary arrest and detention, calling it a violation of human rights.
The NPP caucus also requested a joint resolution be made calling for the immediate release of Lee Ming-che, condemning his arrest and demanding the government help his family members visit him as well as in hiring lawyers and delivering his medications.
The proposals are to be discussed during a legislative floor meeting on Tuesday.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus convener Sufin Siluko (廖國棟) said the KMT caucus would agree with the proposals, but would leave the final decision to next week’s discussion.
Additional reporting by CNA
The Han Kuang exercises, the nation’s major war games, are to start today and run for five days. The drills are to include a military aircraft emergency takeoff and landing exercise on a regular roadway on Wednesday, featuring all three fighter jet models in Taiwan’s fleet, a military source said last week. The drill is to begin at 6:30am on a 3km section of Provincial Highway No. 1 in Pingtung County’s Jiadong Township (佳冬), and feature an Indigenous Defense Fighter, an F-16V, a Mirage 2000-5 and an E-2K Hawkeye early warning aircraft, the source said. The emergency landing and takeoff drill aims to
MRNA VACCINE: Heart inflammation is rare, but possible after a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 shot, and students need to be aware of possible side effects, an expert said As Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccinations for students aged 12 to 17 are to begin on campuses on Thursday next week, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday urged recipients to be especially watchful for five signs of possible myocarditis or pericarditis, which are rare adverse reactions to some COVID-19 vaccines. The Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices convener Lee Ping-ing (李秉穎) joined the CECC’s daily news briefing to report on possible side effects after receiving a BioNTech vaccine. Lee said that cases of myocarditis and pericarditis have been observed in people in the US who have received mRNA COVID-19
Taiwan on Friday accused China of seeking to use the Honduran election to “create controversy” and undermine Taiwan’s long-standing ties with the country, saying it would strive to win support for Honduras’ relations with Taipei. Honduras’ main left-wing opposition party, the Liberty and Refoundation Party (LIBRE), led by ousted former Honduran president Manuel Zelaya, has said that if it wins November’s presidential election it would seek to “readjust” the country’s debt and establish diplomatic relations with China. Honduras is one of 15 UN member countries that maintain formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has already warned Honduras not
WORKING TOGETHER: Masahisa Sato said that the Liberal Democratic Party is aiming to share ideas about Taiwan-related policies and improve ties with Taiwan Countries in the Asia-Pacific region are increasingly being threatened by China, and like-minded nations should work together to resist such threats, Japanese politicians said. Japanese House of Representatives members Keiji Furuya and Masahisa Sato made the comments in a video played on Friday at a conference held by the Taiwan Japan Academy in Taipei. Furuya praised President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration for its efforts in reinforcing exchanges with countries in Southeast Asia and South Asia through the New Southbound Policy. Taiwan also has interests in the Pacific Islands region, but they have come under threat from China in the past few years,