Mon, Feb 04, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Lee Ching-yu leaves on mission to US

Staff writer, with CNA

Lee Ching-yu, the wife of detained democracy campaigner Lee Ming-che, holds up a banner saying “Freedom of expression, Lee Ming-che” at a news conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei on Tuesday last week.

Photo: CNA

Lee Ching-yu (李凈瑜), wife of Taiwanese democracy advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲), yesterday departed for the US to raise awareness about her husband’s imprisonment in China, the Taiwan Association for China Human Rights said.

During the one-week visit, Lee Ching-yu is to make appeals to the US Congress and the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), an independent agency of the US government that monitors human rights and rule of law developments in China, said the association, which is helping organize the trip.

Congress and the commission have been following Lee Ming-che’s case closely and have already met with Lee Ching-yu through representatives who have visited Taiwan over the past year, the association said.

In 2017, Lee Ching-yu made a similar trip to the US and met with Matthew Pottinger, senior director for Asian affairs at the US National Security Council.

Her current trip comes on the heels of a decision by China on Jan. 23 to bar her from visiting her husband, who has been imprisoned in Hunan Province since late 2017 on accusations of “subversion of state power.”

Lee Ching-yu was notified by Chishan Prison that she would not be allowed to visit her husband until April 22 because she had “distorted” the facts about his treatment in prison after a visit on Dec. 18, the association said.

One week after the Dec. 18 visit, Lee Ching-yu said in Taipei that Chishan Prison was treating her husband inhumanely and had frozen his bank account, making it impossible for him to buy food and clothes.

The day after her Dec. 25 news conference, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said she was “spreading politically motivated misinformation.”

“Her mean comments have disrupted the normal practice of legal affairs in the prison,” office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) said.

Lee Ming-che was convicted in November 2017 after being accused of disseminating information and articles online against the Chinese government and system.

He was sentenced to five years in prison and deprivation of his political rights for two years.

The 43-year-old democracy advocate, then a staff member at Wenshan Community College in Taipei, was arrested in March 2017 when he entered Guangdong Province from Macau.

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