A Chinese court on Tuesday is to hold a hearing in the trial of Taiwanese human rights advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲), who stands accused of subverting state power, a Chinese official said yesterday.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) confirmed that the hearing would take place and said that Lee’s lawyer had informed his family of the matter.
Although Ma did not give other details, Mainland Affairs Council spokesman Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) on Friday said that a verdict would be announced during the session at the Yueyang City Intermediate People’s Court in Hunan Province, citing a message that Lee’s family members received from his lawyer.
On Sept. 11, Lee pleaded guilty in what pundits have dismissed as a forced confession to the charge at a court hearing.
Lee admitted to cooperating with Peng Yuhua (彭宇華), a Chinese citizen who has created several discussion groups critical of the government, to intentionally disseminate information and articles criticizing the Chinese Communist Party system and the Chinese government.
Article 105 of the Chinese Criminal Law stipulates a maximum penalty of life imprisonment for “ringleaders” who try to subvert the government, 10 years in prison for “active participants” and three years for “other participants.”
Lee’s family and colleagues have maintained that he is innocent, saying that he was simply sharing his opinions and Taiwan’s democratic experiences with Chinese people, something they said is allowed in free and democratic societies.
Lee, a staff member at Wenshan Community College in Taipei and a former Democratic Progressive Party worker, went missing after entering China via Macau on March 19.
He was later confirmed to have been detained by Chinese authorities.
The Chinese government in May announced that he had been arrested on the charge of subverting state power.
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