Wife of Detained Activist Barred from Entering China

Wife of Detained Activist Barred from Entering China

In early April, mainland China barred Lee Ching-yu, wife of a Taiwanese non-governmental activist, from entering the country. Lee was traveling to China when Chinese authorities revoked her visa, putting a halt to her endeavors of finding her husband. The Taiwanese Association for Human Rights stated that on March 19th, her husband Lee Ming-che, went missing after failing to continue the immigration check point from Macau to Zhuhai. Family members learned of his absence when he did not meet a friend at Zhuhai.

During the week of March 21, Mr. Lee Ming-che’s wife reached out to Straits Exchange Foundation because her husband could need “food and hypertension” medicine. When SEF attempted to contact China, they could not reach police and government authorities. They also contacted China’s foreign prime minister who said that he had no knowledge of this case. The authorities released no information of the allegations, stating that they need to protect the state’s security. It wasn’t until March 27th when Chinese authorities revealed that Mr. Lee Ming-che was being kept in a confidential location due to his threat to China’s “national security.”

Lee Ching-yu said, “I want the government of China to act like a civilized country and tell me what they’re doing with my husband on what legal grounds and … what they plan to do with him.” She doubts that her husband is in safe conditions as  she has mentioned that the Chinese Government is using “illegal means” to hold her husband.  Lee Ching-yu’s plea to China has gained attention and has prompted China to send signals to her. Last Sunday, a middleman who claimed to be associated with the Chinese government, stated that China will release her husband if she is “obedient and quietly cooperative.” The middleman continued to say that the continuation of her loud efforts would result in a televised confession from her husband.

Due to a new law implemented in January, China has tighter control over foreign groups such as NGO’s upon entering China.  This NGO law requires members of NGOs to register with public authorities. China passed these regulations so that NGOs cannot  endanger national unity, security, and interests.

China suspected Lee-Ming Chu,a college employee, could threaten their national security. Cheng Hsiu-Chuan, president of the Taipei college where Lee worked, stated that Le used used WeChat, a form of social media, to “teach” Chinese-Taiwan relations. Cheng stated that “For China, the material he was teaching would be seen as sensitive.” This One China dispute is a conflict between China(who claims that Taiwan is under China) and Taiwan (which claims to be independent from China). China and Taiwan have a long history of debates in regards to “One China.” Their conflict led to a civil war in 1949 which resulted in a split of China and Taiwan. Despite the civil war, China and Taiwan continued to be diplomatic with one another. In 2014, China was Taiwan’s largest trading partner. Xi Jinping, China’s president, often emphasizes the “One China” principle to Taiwan. Yet, according to a 2015 survey in Taiwan, close to 60 percent identified themselves as strictly Taiwanese. President Tsai Ing-wen’s refusal to accept the “One China” precept, which would hinder Taiwan’s internationally relations (by strengthening China’s), led China to cease communication with Taiwan.

China’s anger to Taiwan also reflects China’s detaining of Lee Ming-chu, who not only failed to accept the “One China” principle, but also endorsed the opposite viewpoint when teaching China and Taiwan relations.

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