European Parliament urges China to release Taiwanese activist

Brussels--The European Parliament passed a resolution on Thursday calling for China to release Lee Ming-che, a Taiwanese human rights and pro-democracy advocate who has been detained in China for more than three months for alleged "subversion of state power."

In a plenary session, members of the European Parliament discussed the cases of Lee and 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo and passed the resolution calling for the Chinese government to release the two human rights activists, according to the statement released by the parliament.

Lee, a former Democratic Progressive Party worker, staff member at Wenshan Community College in Taipei and a volunteer at the local NGO Covenants Watch, was detained by China after entering Zhuhai City via Macau on March 19.

Meanwhile, the European Parliament called on Beijing to immediately release Liu and his wife from house arrest and allow him to seek medical treatment wherever he wishes, the statement said.

"The human rights activist has been imprisoned since 2009 for co-writing a manifesto known as 'Charter 8,' calling for fundamental reforms, and is being denied to move outside China for treatment of his late-stage liver cancer," it added.

The statement said that the parliament is highly concerned by China's "continued efforts to silence civil society actors" with the help of new laws on state security, counterterrorism, cybersecurity and foreign NGO management.

The parliament urged the European Union to continue raising the issue of human rights violations in its dialogues and force China to live up to its international human rights commitments, the statement added.

Taiwan has made several calls for Beijing to release Lee, but to no avail. Lee's case has sparked concern from several local and international human rights groups.

News that Liu is on medical parole for treatment of late-stage liver cancer surfaced in late June. There have been reports that his family want Liu to receive treatment overseas but the Chinese authorities have so far not allowed him to do so.

China Medical University No. 1 Affiliated Hospital, where Liu is being treated, said recently that it is inviting experts from Germany and the United States to China to help with Liu's treatment.

Source: Overseas Community Affairs Council