Lee Ching-yu (李凈瑜), wife of human rights advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲) who is being detained in China on charges of sedition, on Thursday said she would hire no lawyers in her husband’s case, as it would only give credence to the pretense that China respects a fair judicial process.
Like Taiwan under the Chiang (蔣) family, China could accuse Lee Ming-che of any crime it wants, as the state is ruled by a dictatorship and not by law, Lee Ching-yu said.
Lee Ming-che was detained and prosecuted for allegedly violating the Chinese Act to Regulate Foreign Non-Governmental Organizations, but is now being prosecuted for attempts to overthrow the government, Lee Ching-yu said, adding that people cannot have confidence in China’s courts.
Lee Ching-yu said that her husband’s arrest ignores the UN’s International Bill of Human Rights, and that trusting China’s judicial system puts him in danger.
Instead, she said she hopes to obtain assistance from legal consultants in Taiwan and abroad.
Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) said that by law, Lee Ming-che’s family is entitled to a lawyer and that the council and the Straits Exchange Foundation would assist should they wish to hire one.
The government respects the family’s decisions, Chiu added.
The council, the foundation and the Ministry of Justice have, through established channels, called on China to protect Lee Ming-che’s rights as required by 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), Chiu said.
In addition, exiled Chinese dissident Wuer Kaixi said at a news conference yesterday that President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration was “too naive” in its interaction with China over the detention, and that he hopes the nation would “wake up” and see China’s true colors.
It is the first time Taiwan is dealing with the Chinese government directly and not through intermediaries such as the foundation or China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, Wuer Kaixi said.
If Taiwan continues to be bogged down in its own political disputes between the pan-green and pan-blue camps, it will not see the enemy right in front of them, he said.
The human rights situation in China has worsened to the point that it is infringing on the rights of Taiwanese who travel and live there, Taiwan Association for Human Rights secretary-general Chiu E-ling (邱伊翎) said, adding that it is no longer just an “internal issue.”
The association called on Tsai to strongly condemn China over the worsening situation in her annual talk commemorating the Tiananmen Square Massacre, and to call for Lee Ming-che’s speedy release.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) also called on China to allow lawyers and family members to see Lee Ming-che, as the case has entered proper judiciary proceedings and he has been detained for more than 70 days.
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