TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – More than a month after his detention in China started, Taiwanese human rights activist Lee Ming-che (李明哲) was in good health, while a Chinese dissident who recently tried to apply for political asylum on the island was being investigated, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) said Wednesday.
Lee, a former worker for President Tsai Ing-wen’s Democratic Progressive Party, disappeared after crossing into China from Macau on March 19. It was only ten days later that the TAO (國台辦) grudgingly admitted he had been detained.
The investigation into Lee’s alleged “involvement in activities harmful to national security” was still continuing, but he was in good health and there was no problem with his medical treatment, spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) said at the TAO’s regular weekly news conference.
As on previous occasions, he refused to disclose to reveal whether Lee had been detained in Zhuhai, the city in Guangdong Province where he had arrived from Macau. He also failed to answer a question from a Taiwanese reporter as to whether Lee had received medicine for his high blood pressure sent by his wife.
China’s treatment of the Taiwanese activist has been interpreted as a warning to foreign non-governmental organizations, which have become subject to more restrictions under a recent new law. Ma also neglected to address whether there was a link between the legislation and the Taiwanese detainee.
The spokesman said the relevant authorities were also investigating the case of Zhang Xiangzhong (張向忠), 48, the man who visited Taiwan from April 12 to 19 but left his tour group one day after arriving on the island. He later said he would apply for political asylum out of admiration for the courage shown by Lee’s wife.
Taiwanese officials met him and told him his case did not meet the requirements for political asylum. They persuaded him to leave Taiwan and return to China with his original group.
Zhang had spent three years in prison in China after his involvement in a civil rights movement.