China urged to explain detention of Taiwan human rights advocate

Taipei--Taiwan's top China policy agency called on Beijing on Wednesday to clarify exactly why a Taiwanese human rights advocate Lee Ming-che (???) is being held and investigated by the Chinese authorities "on suspicion of endangering national security."

China's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) Spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (???) announced at a regular news conference earlier the same day that Lee was being investigated "on suspicion of endangering national security," and is "currently in good physical condition."

This was the first time a Chinese official has commented on the situation after Lee, a staff member at Wenshan Community College in Taipei and a former Democratic Progressive Party worker, went missing on March 19 on entering China from Macao.

However, Ma did not say where Lee is being held and did not provide details about his alleged involvement in any illegal activities.

Taiwanese people's legal rights should be guaranteed if they undertake normal activities in mainland China, Ma said.

The mainland is governed by the rule of law, he said, adding that Taiwanese can rest assured that Beijing will not illegally restrict their freedoms.

Lee Ching-yu (???), the wife of Lee Ming-che (???), said on Tuesday she indirectly received information from "government sources late Monday night" confirming that her husband had been detained in China.

In response, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Deputy Minister and Spokesman Chiu Chui-cheng (???) said on Wednesday that the MAC had received no official information from China on the matter, while calling on Beijing to explain the particulars of Lee's detention.

The MAC undertook to help Lee's family ensure his safety and right to a fair trial, Chiu said.

Also on Wednesday at a press conference, Lee's wife urged Beijing to release her husband immediately and the Taiwan Association for Human Rights said that a Taiwanese resident who entered China legally should not have been detained nine days without his family or an attorney being notified.

Meanwhile, Wenshan Community College President Cheng Hsiu-chuan (???) called on China to grant Lee's family visitation rights.

The DPP legislative caucus also said that China should allow Lee to return to Taiwan and clarify what evidence they have he was endangering national security.

According to the Cross-strait Joint Crime-Fighting and Judicial Mutual Assistance Agreement, Beijing should at a minimum allow Lee's family to visit him, the DPP caucus added.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel