A coalition of human rights groups yesterday marched on the streets of Taipei to mark the anniversary of China’s abduction of Taiwanese democracy advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲) and to urge the Taiwanese government to pressure Beijing for Lee’s release.
Lee, who was arrested by Chinese authorities on March 19 last year when entering Zhuhai in Guangdong Province from Macau, was sentenced to five years in prison for state subversion in November last year. He is being incarcerated in Chishan Prison in China’s Hunan Province, but his wife, Lee Ching-yu (李凈瑜), is unable to make family visits.
Starting from the Presidential Office Building in Taipei, the activists marched with one of them blindfolded and hands shackled to symbolize Lee’s imprisonment, while they explained to passersby Lee’s situation and how he was incarcerated for exercising freedom of speech.
Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times
In a letter sent to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and top government officials, they urged the government to redouble its efforts to pressure Beijing to release Lee Ming-che, while it continues to deepen Taiwan’s democracy to counter Chinese aggression.
The Taiwanese government is passive in its handling of Lee Ming-che’s abduction, with newly sworn-in Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) completely quiet about the case, Taiwan Association for Human Rights secretary-general Chiu Ee-ling (邱伊翎) said.
“Each one of us is Lee Ming-che” because he was convicted for making democracy-promoting comments on the Internet, something that every Taiwanese would do, Amnesty International Taiwan director Lin Shu-ya (林淑雅) said.
China has approved a set of laws authorizing law enforcement agencies to arbitrarily detain its citizens and people from other countries, which represses China’s civil development and deprives people of their right to free speech, Lin said.
China’s arbitrary arrest of a Taiwanese is an infringement of the nation’s sovereignty and the human rights of its people, Taiwan Association of University Professors president Lin Hsiu-hsin (林秀幸) said.
“[Lee Ming-che’s case] poses a double threat as Taiwanese are prohibited from promoting human rights in China or making online comments in Taiwan,” Lin Hsiu-hsin said. “China is imposing its imperialism on the world, and Taiwan is its softest and easiest target.”
Taiwan Forever Association deputy director Hung Chung-yen (洪崇晏) said the only way to counter China’s infringement of Taiwan’s democracy is to deepen its democracy.
“China has shown us the only way to resist its authoritarian government,” Hung said. “It is what Lee Ming-che did: promoting freedom of speech and democracy, resisting human rights violations and organizing human rights defenders and democracy activists.”
Covenants Watch chief executive officer Huang Yi-bee (黃怡碧) said that activists on Friday last week submitted a petition to the UN Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, urging the council to pressure China to ensure Lee Ming-che’s right to family visits.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,
NEW CASE REPORTED: A man who returned from South Africa on a flight with the nation’s 460th and 461st cases has now tested positive for the disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that there is no need to test all arrivals to the nation for COVID-19, a policy the Executive Yuan supports. The center reported one new imported case, bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 477. The new case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who on July 25 returned from South Africa, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman. The man had returned to Taiwan on the same flight as cases Nos. 460 and 461, reported on July 27, Chuang said. On July 24,