Civic groups yesterday condemned Chinese authorities for banning Lee Ching-yu (李凈瑜) from visiting her husband, jailed Taiwanese human rights advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲), and called for his release.
“Chinese authorities’ decision to ban family visitation during the Lunar New Year period, a time of family reunion, is inhumane and shameful,” Taiwan Association for Human Rights secretary-general Chiu Ee-ling (邱伊翎) told a news conference in Taipei.
Lee Ching-yu was honest about her husband’s situation in Hunan Province’s Chishan Prison, Chiu said.
Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times
“No prisoners or their family would deliberately tell lies to risk more punishment,” she added.
Lee Ching-yu on Dec. 24 last year told a news conference that the prison had mistreated her husband by throwing away his warm clothing, serving him spoiled food and making him work more than 10 hours per day.
They also froze his bank account, refused to activate his telephone card and prevented him from receiving letters and books from family, she said.
On Monday, Lee Ching-yu received a letter from prison officials informing her that she has been banned from visiting her husband for three months, from Wednesday last week to April 22, because her public comments “deviated” from the facts and would “hinder” his rehabilitation.
“All of my visits to the prison were monitored by the Chinese government. What I said about the prison after returning to Taiwan was based entirely on what I saw and heard there,” Lee Ching-yu said.
Lee Ming-che had asked her to “tell everyone” about his situation after her return to Taiwan, telling her that “there is a lot more I have not told you,” she said.
She added that if her words diverted from the facts, the prison can release videos of their meeting.
“My husband is in your prison. What leverage do I have to spread lies? If I lied, you can immediately expose me,” Lee Ching-yu said.
“Why would human rights hinder a prisoner’s rehabilitation? Not to mention that Lee Ming-che is innocent,” she added.
She said that if Chinese authorities would not allow her to visit Lee Ming-che, they should at least allow civic groups and the Mainland Affairs Council to visit him.
“What China is doing is extending its crackdown on freedom of speech to Lee Ming-che’s family,” Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) said.
Banning family visitation is not only against universal humanitarian values, but against the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and China’s own law on imprisonment, she said.
The prison could continue to mistreat Lee Ming-che if his family is not allowed to visit, Amnesty International Taiwan director Annie Huang (黃尚卿) said.
“Chinese authorities should respect freedom of speech and release Lee Ming-che,” she said, adding that his family has the right to visit him.
To show support for Lee Ming-che, civic groups said that they have been urging the public to send postcards to him in prison and tag him On social media on Lunar New Year’s Eve.
They have sent more than 70 letters to him, they said.
Typhoon Chanthu could make landfall as far north as Yilan or Hualien counties late tomorrow night, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said yesterday, adding that a land alert could be issued this afternoon or tomorrow morning. The bureau also said that it could possibly issue a sea alert late last night or early this morning. As of 2pm yesterday, Chanthu was 960km southeast of Pingtung County’s Oluanpi (鵝鑾鼻). It was moving northwest at 15kph, but was projected to shift northward as it approached the Taiwan Strait due to a weakening Pacific high-pressure system, the bureau said. The bureau is closely monitoring the typhoon,
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