China: Release Lee Ming-Che
6 December 2017 4:58 pm
(Bangkok, 6 December 2017) – The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) strongly denounces the conviction of Lee Ming-Che on the charge of subversion of state power as stipulated under Article 105 of the Chinese Penal Code. All charges against him should be dropped, and he should be released immediately.
On 28 November 2017, the People’s Court of Yueyang in Hunan found Lee Ming-Che, a Taiwanese pro-democracy activist, guilty of subversion of state power. He was accused of having created several private groups on social media to discuss a democratic multi-party system and free elections. The Court handed him a verdict of five years’ imprisonment and prevented him from participating in political activities for two years. The jail term was reduced due to his forced confession during the only hearing on 11 September 2017. While he was in detention, he was not allowed to contact anyone aside from his court-appointed lawyer.
Lee Ming-Che is a pro-democracy and human rights activist, who advocates for civil and political rights. He supports many civil society organisations, activists, and families of jailed dissidents. On 19 March 2017, he entered China for a personal affair and his family lost contact with him. On 27 March 2017, his wife received a notice from the Taiwanese Government stating that he was detained by Chinese authorities.
Many local, regional, and international organisations have been campaigning for his release and demanding disclosure of all information related to his detention. Chinese authorities have repeatedly ignored requests by the Taiwanese Government and family members for information about him. Chinese authorities also rejected the travel permit of Lee Ching-Yu, the wife of Lee Ming-Che, when she tried to travel to Beijing to seek more information from the authorities.
Finally, on 26 May 2017, Chinese authorities gave more information about his case, announcing that he was charged with subversion of state power.
The detention and conviction of Lee Ming-Che is a disturbing development. Lee Ming-Che’s case is an unprecedented case of a Taiwanese activist tried for subversion of state power in China. Additionally, it is alarming that he did not receive a fair trial.
FORUM-ASIA demands the immediate release of Lee Ming-Che and all charges against him to be dropped unconditionally. Till then, his right to family visits should be respected and his medical needs should be addressed.
For a PDF version of this statement, click here.