Taiwan urges Beijing to respect human rights

Taipei, The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) on Sunday called on mainland China to promote democratic political reform and guarantee human rights, while urging Beijing to release Taiwanese democracy activist Lee Ming-che (???) and ensure his safe return to Taiwan.

The MAC issued the call in a statement issued that day ahead of the 29th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Incident on June 4, 1989.

Chinese students and workers occupied Beijing's Tiananmen Square for nearly two months and began protests calling for the recognition of universal values such as democracy, freedom, rule of law and human rights in China, which resulted in the army's violent suppression of protesters from June 3-4.

However, the full truth about the incident remains unknown and the Chinese government has yet to offer redress to victims and their families, the MAC said in its statement, while expressing regret over the matter.

While the Chinese Communist Party has stepped up reform and adopted measures to combat corruption, it has also stepped up suppression of the right to free speech and expression to solidify one-party rule, according to the statement.

The MAC called on Beijing to start political reform and the process of transitioning to democracy, guaranteeing freedom of speech and religious belief, while facing historical facts relating to the June 4 incident.

The MAC said despite China's growing power, it continues to backslide on human rights as evidenced by its suppression of academic freedom, students' freedom of expression and people's freedom of religious belief.

As China moves toward a new phase in its development, the MAC called on Beijing to carry out political reforms, embrace the universal values of the international community and respond to the Chinese people's desire for improvements in human rights protection.

Meanwhile, the MAC also called on China to respect the fundamental human rights of Taiwanese in the international community to promote harmonious interactions between the two sides and facilitate improved cross-strait relations.

The MAC also urged Beijing to release Lee as soon as possible and ensure his safe return to Taiwan, adding that Taiwan's government does not accept the Chinese government's improper trial and detention of Lee.

Lee was sentenced to five years in prison in November 2017 for "subverting state power" because of comments he made and information he circulated on social media about democracy, freedom of expression and human rights in China.

He was held for more than eight months prior to sentencing after disappearing on March 19 last year when he entered China through Macau, and is now serving his sentence at Chishan Prison in Hunan Province.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel