Taiwanese citizen convicted in China on subversion charge (update)

2017/11/28 14:22:22 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Lee Ming-che (Image taken from Yueyang Intermediate People's Court Weibo microblogging site)

Lee Ming-che (Image taken from Yueyang Intermediate People's Court Weibo microblogging site)

Taipei, Nov. 28 (CNA) Taiwanese human rights activist Lee Ming-che (李明哲) was sentenced by a court in China on Tuesday to five years in prison and two years' deprivation of political rights for "subversion of state power."

The Mainland Affairs Council, Taiwan's top China policy agency, confirmed the verdict, handed down by the Yueyang Intermediate People's Court in Hunan Province.

Lee said he will not appeal.

Lee was the first Taiwanese to be convicted of attempting to overthrow the Chinese government. A staff member at Wenshan Community College in Taipei, he was arrested on March 19 when entering Guangdong province from Macau.

China accused Lee of cooperating with Peng Yuhua (彭宇華), a Chinese citizen, in "organizing, planning and taking action to subvert national authority and overthrow the socialist system."

It said they used online discussion groups to disseminate information and articles attacking the Chinese government and system.

At the trial's only hearing on Sept. 11, both Lee and Peng pleaded guilty to the charge in what many described as a "forced confession."

Peng was sentenced to seven years behind bars and two years' deprivation of political rights on Tuesday.

Lee Ching-yu (李凈瑜), Lee Ming-che's wife, said in a statement after attending the announcement of the verdict in person that she was proud of her husband's advocacy for human rights.

She said she understood there may be a price to pay for pursuing one's ideals and that Lee Ming-che realized he might be subject to forced detention and forced confession, but the sacrifices still had to be made to fight for human rights to elevate society to a higher level of civilization.

Noting that they were "under no illusion" about the price to be paid, Lee Ching-yu said they had no right to complain and were ready to face whatever the future holds for them.

She reiterated her position that what her husband did was nothing but exercise his freedom of speech and that the trials he went through were unacceptable to a civilized world.

Lee Ching-yu said she was allowed to talk to her husband for just three minutes after the court issued its verdict, during which her husband asked her to send him books published by Book Republic (讀書共和國) and Gusa Publishing (八旗文化) for him to read in prison.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan)
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