Wed, Jan 31, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Council sorry over refusal of Lee Ching-yu

VISITATION:China has contradicted itself by refusing rights advocate Lee Ming-che’s wife the right to enter the country to visit him, groups said

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday expressed its deep regret over Lee Ching-yu’s (李凈瑜) failed attempt to visit her husband, Taiwanese human rights advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲), in a Chinese prison, saying it is the legal right of people to visit incarcerated family members.

The council made the remarks hours after Lee Ching-yu was not allowed to board a XiamenAir flight scheduled to depart at 11:55am for China’s Hunan Province, because she does not have a Taiwan compatriot travel document.

She had planned to visit her husband in Chishan Prison.

“More than two months have passed since Lee Ming-che was sentenced. Chinese law and a notice sent from Chishan Prison to his family guarantee his right to family visitation,” MAC Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) said.

Lee Ming-che’s family has repeatedly contacted the prison and its supervisory agency, the Hunan Prison Administrative Bureau, since learning of his whereabouts, Chiu said.

Prison authorities told Lee Ming-che’s family that “as long as they were able to enter China, they would be granted a visit,” Chiu said, adding that the council and the semi-official Straits Exchange Foundation notified Beijing of Lee Ching-yu’s planned trip and asked them to assist her with entry.

“We are puzzled as to why Beijing refused to let Lee Ching-yu board her flight,” Chiu said.

Lee Ming-che went missing on March 19 last year after entering Zhuhai in China’s Guangdong Province via Macau.

China did not announce his arrest until 10 days later.

On Nov. 28 last year, the Yueyang City Intermediate People’s Court in Hunan Province found Lee Ming-che guilty of subversion of state power for holding online political lectures and helping the families of jailed dissidents.

Meanwhile, an alliance established by several non-governmental organizations to “rescue” Lee Ming-che yesterday issued a statement denouncing what it called China’s inhumanity and contradictory laws.

According to a notice sent from Chishan Prison, Lee Ming-che’s family is entitled to visit once a month, the alliance said.

Lee Ching-yu’s Taiwan compatriot travel document — a permit required for Taiwanese to travel to China — was rescinded on April 10 last year without reason when she tried to fly to China to see her husband, the alliance said.

She was able apply for one-time landing visas to attend her husband’s court hearing and sentencing in September and November last year, it said.

“On the one hand, the Chinese government issued the notice via the prison, while on the other hand it refused to let Lee Ching-yu board her flight,” the alliance said. “Such inconsistency only goes to show how contradictory and ruthless the Chinese government is.”

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