Sat, Apr 15, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Tsai urged to report on Lee Ming-che

BLIND EYE:Taiwan Democracy Watch demanded that government agencies explain how they have been protecting Taiwanese and called on MOFA to provide assistance

By Peng Wan-hsin, Su Fang-ho and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Taiwan Democracy Watch yesterday called on President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to present a report on China’s detention of human rights advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲) to the Legislative Yuan.

The group issued a statement listing six demands, including that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) should offer assistance to Lee, who has been held for 27 days as of yesterday.

It also demanded that the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) and the Ministry of Education investigate whether Lee Chun-min (李俊敏) — a Taiwanese who said he could help Lee Ming-che’s wife, Lee Ching-yu (李凈瑜), gather information about his arrest — violated the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例).

The group also demanded that the Presidential Office, the MAC, the Straits Exchange Foundation, the Executive Yuan and other government agencies explain how they are upholding their responsibility to protect Taiwanese.

Finally, the group called on the government to establish a clock that would keep track of the number of days and hours that Lee Ming-che is held in China.

“China has ignored the government’s attempts to contact it and turned a blind eye to human rights. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) must act now to tell the world what Taiwan’s official position is” on Lee Ming-che’s detention, Taiwan Democracy Watch chairperson Chen Chao-ju (陳昭如) said.

Chen said civic groups have been trying to assist Lee Ming-che in any way they can since he went missing after his arrival in China from Macau on March 19, but China has not responded, despite numerous news conferences held by Taiwanese officials calling for his release.

Chen said Lee Ming-che’s detention violates an agreement between Taiwan and China that the two sides would notify each other 24 hours before arresting a national from the other side.

China must allow Lee Ming-che’s relatives to visit him, Chen said.

China’s refusal to respond to official pleas from the government while working with Lee Chun-min — an assistant to former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元) — is “a failure of parity and reciprocity,” Chen said.

Lee Chun-min’s involvement in the issue without government permission violates Article 33 of the act, Chen said urging the government to investigate the matter.

“We have the law, but we never enforce it,” Chen said.

Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) said the government’s position is clear: that it is actively engaged in the issue and that Lee Ming-che’s safety is its highest priority.

Huang said the government respects the group’s comments.

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