Human rights groups yesterday gathered at the Liberty Square in Taipei, demanding that China immediately release Taiwanese human rights advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲).
Lee was detained after entering Zhuhai City via Macau on March 19. He used to work for the Democratic Progressive Party and is currently a staff member at Wenshan Community College in Taipei, as well as a volunteer at the non-governmental organization Covenant Watch.
“We hope he will return soon,” Taipei Wenshan Community College president Cheng Hsiu-chuan (鄭秀娟) said.
Photo: courtesy of Shih Mi-na
The rally last night also sought to raise public awareness about forced disappearances.
“Lee’s wife, Lee Ching-yu [李凈瑜], declined the offer of help from human rights lawyers, because she believes her husband’s forced disappearance is an issue of human rights rather than a legal issue,” Cheng said. “There cannot not be any gray area between the two.”
Cheng said that people often joke that China has “held many Taiwanese hostages,” because of the large number of Taiwanese conducting business there, but she believes the nation would find a way to resolve the case without sacrificing its dignity.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
Taiwan Association for Human Rights secretary-general Chiu Ee-ling (邱伊翎) said that Beijing should clarify on what grounds it detained Lee Ming-che.
Even if China arrested Lee Ming-che according to the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Administration of Activities of Overseas Non-Governmental Organizations within the Territory of China, Chinese authorities should not have detained him for more than 37 days, Chiu said.
Lee Ming-che had been detained for 61 days as of yesterday.
The 5 million Taiwanese visiting China each year must not turn a blind eye to the incident; otherwise, they would be acquiescing to China’s atrocities, which have not only infringed on the freedom of Taiwanese, but of international human rights advocates and academics, she added.
Covenant Watch chief executive officer Huang Yi-bee (黃怡碧) said her organization has sent a letter to German international law expert Eibe Riedel, who serves as a consultant for the German Commission for UNESCO, informing him of Lee Ming-che’s situation.
Riedel has forwarded the letter to the commission and 40 UNESCO ambassadors, Huang said, expressing the hope that UNESCO would use its influence to press China to release Lee Ming-che.
Meanwhile, Lee Ching-yu appeared on Thursday before a US House of Representatives committee hearing in Washington to appeal for help to secure her husband’s release.
She also pleaded for Washington to help preserve and enhance the human rights of Taiwanese in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA).
Lee Ching-yu attended the hearing on forced disappearance, detention and torture in China along with the wives of three Chinese human rights lawyers who have also been detained.
Lee Ching-yu said in a statement that she had no choice but to seek help from the US, a country she described as “the leading democracy in the free world.”
“The US Congress has also voluntarily taken on the responsibility, as specified in section 2, clause 3 of the Taiwan Relations Act, to preserve and enhance the human rights of the people of Taiwan,” she said.
“Therefore, I stand alone before you today to plead for your help for my husband,” she said.
US Representative Chris Smith, who chaired the hearing of the subcommittee on global human rights, said Taiwan is an important democratic ally of the US, and a beacon of peace and democracy in Asia.
The US should continue its promises stated in the TRA and “six assurances,” which are the fundamental basis of Taiwan-US relations, he said.
After the hearing, Lee Ching-yu told reporters that she did not expect her husband to be released because of the hearing, but that being a human rights worker, one must believe in certain values and work hard to see them realized.
She said that as long as her husband remains in detention, she would do everything in her power to secure his release.
Indonesia has sent hundreds of riot police to a tiny island after protests broke out against a China-backed project that would displace thousands of residents. About 1,000 people protested in Batam City on Monday over a plan to develop Rempang island into a Chinese-funded economic zone, including the construction of a multibillion-dollar glass factory, that would displace about 7,500 people. Some protesters clashed with security forces outside a government agency, wielding machetes, Molotov cocktails and stones, police said, adding that dozens were arrested. Beijing has poured money into infrastructure and resource projects in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy and its investments have previously caused
CALL FOR PEACE: Czech President Petr Pavel raised concerns about China’s military maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait and its ‘unfriendly action’ in the South China Sea The leaders of three diplomatic allies — Guatemala, Paraguay and Palau — on Tuesday voiced support for Taiwan’s inclusion in the UN on the first day of the UN General Debate in New York. In his address during the 78th UN General Assembly, Palauan President Surangel Whipps Jr urged the UN and all parties involved in cross-strait issues to exercise restraint and seek a peaceful resolution. “The well-being and prosperity of nations and their economies are intrinsically linked to global peace and stability,” he said. He also thanked partner nations such as Taiwan, Australia, Japan and the US for providing assistance
‘HARASSMENT’: A record 103 Chinese warplanes were detected in 24 hours, posing severe challenges to security in the Taiwan Strait and the region, the ministry said Taiwan yesterday told China to stop its “destructive unilateral actions” after more than 100 Chinese warplanes and nine navy ships were detected in areas around the nation. The Ministry of National Defense (MND) described the number of warplanes detected in 24 hours as a “recent high,” while Beijing has so far refrained from issuing any official comment on the sorties. “Between the morning of September 17th to 18th, the Ministry of National Defense had detected a total of 103 Chinese aircraft, which was a recent high and has posed severe challenges to the security across the Taiwan Strait and in the region,”
China would be making “a grave strategic mistake” if it tried to attack Taiwan, US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley said in an interview with CNN that aired on Sunday. Asked by host Fareed Zakaria whether the US could repel a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, Milley said: “It is entirely possible.” Milley reiterated that the US still maintains the Taiwan Relations Act, and that it wants “a peaceful outcome between Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China, and whatever that is between those two peoples.” “Militarily, I think China would make a grave strategic mistake if they attempted to