Detained activist’s wife may be barred from entering China: official

Taipei--The wife of detained Taiwanese human rights and pro-democracy advocate Lee Ming-che (???) is scheduled to depart for Beijing Monday to meet him in China, but the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said she "might have difficulty entering China."

Lee, a former Democratic Progressive Party worker and a staff member at Wenshan Community College in Taipei, has been detained by China for the last 22 days after entering the country via Macao on March 19.

Lee's wife, Lee Ching-yu (???), is hoping to meet representatives from China's Taiwan Affairs Office and the semi-official Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) to hear an explanation for Lee's detention. She will be accompanied by staff from ARATS' Taiwan counterpart -- the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), according to the MAC.

The SEF and ARATS are semi-official bodies set up by Taiwan and China to handle issues related to civilian exchanges in the absence of official ties.

Chiu Chui-cheng (???), MAC deputy minister and spokesman, said a female official and a legal counsel from the SEF will accompany Lee Ching-yu on the trip "as far as they can," since the decision on whether they will be allowed into China lies with the Chinese authorities. "Perhaps she will meet with difficulty" entering China, he added.

The MAC official said the MAC and SEF have done their best to solicit China's assistance in resolving the matter, preferably by releasing Lee the sooner the better so as not to worsen "already complicated, sensitive" cross-strait ties, Chiu said.

The SEF has sent five messages to ARATS regarding the issue, but the latter has merely responded by saying that "there is no further information to offer," according to Lee Li-chen (???), the SEF's deputy secretary-general and spokeswoman.

Therefore, she said, "we are not sure whether or not Lee Ching-yu will be admitted tomorrow."

The Taiwan Association for Human Rights, which is backing Lee Ching-yu's campaign to rescue her husband, said that besides seeking a Chinese official explanation, "most importantly, she wants to personally meet her husband and ensure that he is safe."

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel