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TAIWAN NEWS
Taiwanese activist confesses to Chinese subversion charges
By Ben Dooley
Beijing (AFP) Sept 11, 2017


Wife of detained Taiwanese activist arrives in China
Beijing (AFP) Sept 10, 2017 - The wife of a Taiwanese rights activist being held in China arrived in the mainland Sunday on the eve of his trial in a case that has further soured cross-strait relations.

Lee Ching-yu, wife of NGO worker Lee Ming-cheh who has been held incommunicado in China for more than 170 days, left for Shanghai around noon to connect to a flight to the central province of Hunan where her husband's trial will be held.

"We landed and are on our way to our hotel in Yueyang city," Xiao Yimin, a Taiwanese legal activist accompanying Lee, told AFP.

"As we understand, she will be allowed in court, but we don't know if the rest of us will be able to get in," said Xiao, who is general secretary of the Judicial Reform Foundation.

Lee's trial is set to start Monday at a court in Hunan's Yueyang city, according to his wife.

The activist's mother arrived in Yueyang Sunday evening. Both women were accompanied by several officials from Taiwan's semi-official Straits Exchange Foundation, which handles relations with the mainland.

Lee went missing during a visit to the mainland in March and Chinese authorities later confirmed he was being investigated for suspected activities "endangering national security".

Lee Ching-yu made no comment at the airport but has pleaded for Taiwanese people to understand if her husband is "forced to confess" in court.

"I go to (China) not to provoke or argue. I hope to see the arrival of justice and let Lee Ming-cheh return to Taiwan safe and soon," she told reporters before leaving on Saturday.

She attempted to fly to Beijing in April to "rescue" her husband but Chinese authorities at that time revoked her travel permit.

Xiao told AFP that Lee was unavailable to speak with media Sunday night.

Their supporters shared a video on social media Sunday saying it showed workers setting up roadblocks outside the Yueyang courtroom.

- 'No evidence of wrongdoing' -

Beijing has repeatedly ignored Taipei's requests for information on Lee's whereabouts and details of the allegations against him.

Relations between the two sides have worsened since Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen took office in May last year. Since then Beijing has cut off all official communications with Taipei.

China sees self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory waiting to be reunified. It wants Tsai to acknowledge the island is part of "One China", which she has refused to do.

Lee has long supported civil society organisations and activists in China, according to Amnesty International.

He had shared "Taiwan's democratic experiences" with his Chinese friends online for many years and often mailed books to them, said the Taiwan Association for Human Rights.

"We urge the Chinese authorities to allow Lee's wife to attend the trial tomorrow," Amnesty International China researcher Patrick Poon told AFP.

"Lee hasn't been given any access to his family and a lawyer of his choice since he was detained in March. Such practice does not meet international standards on fair trial," Poon added.

Sophie Richardson, China director of Human Rights Watch, told AFP that Beijing had provided "no evidence of actual wrongdoing" in Lee's case.

"The charges should be dropped immediately and he should be allowed to return home," Richardson said.

A Taiwanese democracy activist confessed Monday to charges of attempting to subvert Chinese government power during a trial in China that has been slammed by rights activists and further soured cross-strait relations.

Lee Ming-cheh appeared alongside a Chinese co-defendant named Peng Yuhua at Yueyang intermediate court in central Hunan province, according to video footage posted on the court's official social media account.

A shaven-headed Lee appeared nervous as he confessed to charges of "subverting state power", stating that he had written and distributed online articles that criticised China's ruling Communist Party and promoted democracy among other topics.

"I know that my behaviour definitely violated Chinese law," said Lee, an NGO worker who was arrested during a trip to the Chinese mainland in March.

"The television news I watched in prison has made me understand China's development a little better. I know that my past thinking and the information I received was mistaken," he said.

"This mistaken thinking led me to violate the law. I express my guilt and regrets."

The articles were written at the direction of Peng, who he had become acquainted with online and had met several times on the Chinese mainland, Lee said under questioning from a prosecutor.

Lee's supporters gathered outside the courthouse in Yueyang city, according to photos on social media.

His wife and mother arrived in Hunan province Sunday to attend the trial. Both women were accompanied by several officials from Taiwan's semi-official Straits Exchange Foundation, which handles relations with the mainland.

Lee has long supported civil society organisations and activists in China, according to Amnesty International.

He had shared "Taiwan's democratic experiences" with his Chinese friends online for many years and often mailed books to them, said the Taiwan Association for Human Rights.

After Lee went missing Chinese authorities confirmed he was being investigated for suspected activities "endangering national security".

- 'Sham trial' -

The language the two co-defendants used to confess their crimes sounded rehearsed, according to Patrick Poon, a China researcher at Amnesty International.

The "language they used was so much like the Chinese government's", he said, adding he was particularly surprised by Lee's criticisms of Taiwanese media.

"It's a sham trial," he said, adding that "there is no way that the trial was a fair trial according to international standards."

In the lead-up the trial, Beijing repeatedly ignored Taipei's requests for information on Lee's whereabouts and details of the allegations against him. Even Lee's family was not given written notification of the trial, Poon said.

Relations between the two sides have worsened since Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen took office in May last year. Since then Beijing has cut off all official communications with Taipei.

China sees self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory waiting to be reunified. It wants Tsai to acknowledge the island is part of "One China", which she has refused to do.

TAIWAN NEWS
China slams US defence bill over Taiwan provision
Beijing (AFP) July 17, 2017
China on Monday said it had lodged an official protest with the United States following the passage of a defence spending bill that could lead to American warships visiting Taiwan. Beijing has long objected to any military assistance from Washington to the self-governed island, which it considers a breakaway province. "China firmly opposes any forms of official exchange and military cont ... read more

Related Links
Taiwan News at SinoDaily.com

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