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.
A Taipei veterinarian is urging pet owners to avoid using insecticides around their homes, as their ingredients can be toxic to pets. Commercial-grade insecticides contain pyrethroids — organic compounds similar to natural pyrethrins, pesticides produced by flowers such as chrysanthemums — in quantities that are harmless to humans, but potentially fatal to cats and dogs, Asian Veterinary Specialist Referral Center veterinarian Chua Man-ling (蔡曼琳) said. Even in small quantities, pyrethroids are hazardous to cats, as they lack the metabolic enzymes needed to process them, Chua said. Cockroach sprays and ant traps are especially dangerous to pets as they contain boric acid, she
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
DREAMING OF TRAVEL: About 7,000 people applied for the experience, with about 60 chosen for the first flight yesterday, which includes boarding an airplane Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks. “I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,”