Taiwan protests China's move against detained activist's wife

2017/04/10 19:28:05 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Taiwan protests China's move against detained activist's wife

Taipei, April 10 (CNA) Taiwan reacted angrily on Monday after the wife of a detained Taiwanese human rights and democracy advocate was forced to abort a trip to Beijing because her travel permit to China had been revoked.

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), the body in charge of Taiwan's China policy, said in a statement that China has yet to formally notify Taiwan of the charges leveled against Lee Ming-che (李明哲) and where he is being detained.

China also revoked a valid travel permit to enter China held by Lee Ching-yu (李凈瑜), wife of Lee Ming-che, thwarting her plan to board a plane for Beijing on Monday to try to see her husband, it said.

"The government wants to strongly protest this," the MAC declared.

The use of government authority to restrain personal freedoms must follow legal procedures, and the government must give people the right to visit their family members on humanitarian grounds as this a basic human right, the agency stressed.

The MAC and other government agencies, including the Straits Exchange Foundation, the Ministry of Justice, and the Criminal Investigation Bureau, have contacted Chinese authorities since the detention of Lee Ming-che on March 19, but had yet to get a response, the council said.

The MAC warned that mainland China's failure to address the appeals of Lee's family will not be conducive to informing people of the truth and easing public misgivings, and it will also have a negative impact on cross-strait relations.

It also urged China to discuss the case with Taiwan and handle it through existing communications channels.

Official exchanges between Taiwan and China have ground to a standstill since the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party's Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) assumed the presidency on May 20, 2016.

Legislators across the political spectrum were unanimous in lashing out at China on Monday for its disregard of human rights after Lee Ching-yu was stopped at the airport.

She was turned back at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport when she was told by ground staff of Air China, which was flying a flight code-shared with Taiwan's EVA Airways, that her travel permit had been revoked and she could not board the plane.

Lee Li-chen (李麗珍), the deputy secretary general of the SEF, which handles contacts with China in the absence of formal ties, said China's Ministry of Public Security informed Taiwan's National Immigration Agency (NIA) on Monday that Lee Ching-yu's travel permit had been revoked.

Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋), a DPP legislative caucus whip, said Lee Ming-che's case underscored China's lack of respect for a cross-strait judicial assistance agreement it signed with Taiwan in April 2009.

He asked China to state its stance on the case and also urged Taiwan to raise its voice to demand that China make its position clear.

The caucus whip of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT), Tseng Ming-tsung (曾銘宗), called on the SEF and MAC to assist Lee's wife and rescue Lee Ming-che, and he also asked China to be more treat Lee Ming-che magnanimously and protect his basic human rights.

Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明), a party whip of the New Power Party, said Lee Ming-che's wife has the right to visit her husband, regardless of the reason he was detained.

Beijing's move has no legal basis and is a complete violation of human rights, leading one to wonder what Beijing is afraid of, Hsu said.

Some opposition lawmakers also criticized the government's ineffectiveness in dealing with Beijing.

KMT lawmaker Chang Li-shan (張麗善) said the public has yet to see the SEF or the MAC play any role since May 20, 2016 and suggested that the MAC be dissolved.

People First Party whip Chen Yi-chieh (陳怡潔) said that at a time when cross-strait relations are worsening, the MAC and SEF have shown themselves to be helpless in their handling of Lee's case in the face of pressure from China, despite stressing they continue to communicate with Beijing.

(By Chen Chun-hua, Wen Kuei-hsiang and Liu Guan-tig and Lilian Wu)

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