Wife of jailed Taiwan activist denied visits; health concerns raised

Taipei, Lee Ching-yu (???), the wife of Taiwanese democracy activist Lee Ming-che (???), said Saturday that Chinese authorities have denied her request to visit her husband twice, which has made her more concerned about her husband's health condition.

In a news conference jointly organized by Lee, her friend Wang Li-ping (???), the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, and the rights group Covenants Watch, Lee said Beijing authorities have given no explanation why her husband was transferred back to a prison in Hunan, China, two weeks after being moved to a prison in Hebei last month.

Lee said the temperatures in Beijing have hovered around 2 degrees Celsius and the mercury in Hunan has reached around 12 degrees, and such an abrupt transfer of jail has raised concerns over the health state of her husband, in particular after her two requests to see her husband has been denied.

Lee Ming-che has been detained by the Chinese government since March 19, 2017, when he entered Guangdong province from Macau.

Lee, a staff member at Wenshan Community College in Taipei, was the first Taiwanese to be convicted of attempting to overthrow the Chinese government on Nov. 28, 2017. Lee said at the trial he would not appeal the ruling of the Yueyang Intermediate People's Court in Hunan Province.

According to Chiu E-ling (???), secretary general of the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, Lee Ching-yu had previously requested to visit her husband on Nov. 22, but her request was denied later due to the transfer of jail for her husband.

On Friday evening, Lee was informed of another denial to her request to see her husband.

She said the Chinese authorities' refusal to let her visit her husband puts her in the dark about his condition, prompting her to worry about his health.

"Otherwise, why was I denied to see him?" Lee Ching-yu said.

Lee said she visited her husband five times in March, May, June, July and September this year. In one of the five visits, she said, she burst into tears when her husband said to her that he will spend more time to accompany her in the future to make up the void during the jail time.

Chiu urged the international community to ask China's government to tell Lee's family about his health condition and called for Taiwan's government to come up with a protest against Beijing and try hard to protect the rights of Lee's family members.

In response, Chiu Chui-cheng (???), the deputy chief and spokesman of the Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), said the denial of the request of Lee's wife to visit her husband showed Beijing's malicious intention to block the visits.

The move clearly indicated the Chinese government's disregard for human rights, the MAC's Chiu said.

He called on the Beijing authorities to release Lee as soon as possible, adding that China should publicize Lee's state of health and allow his family members to visit him immediately.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel