TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – More than 40 days after his detention in China, the wife of Taiwanese human rights activist Lee Ming-che (李明哲) stands by her campaign to focus international attention on his plight, she said in an interview with the BBC’s Chinese-language service published Tuesday.
Lee disappeared on March 19, the day he crossed from Macau into the Chinese city of Zhuhai, apparently on a trip to pave the way for his mother-in-law to receive medical treatment there.
It took ten days before China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) admitted that he had been detained, supposedly because he was being investigated for “activities harmful to national security.” China prevented his wife, Lee Ching-yu (李凈瑜), from boarding a flight to Beijing to look for him by canceling her travel document.
In her interview with the BBC, she said how she received a letter from her husband through an intermediary, but the content was exactly the same as the statements made by the TAO spokesman, so she wanted to hear him speak personally.
Even though Taiwan was a small country and relations with China were difficult at present, she thought the handling of her husband by Beijing was too extreme. Lee called on the Taiwanese government to assist with his release by approaching third countries.
She emphasized she would continue her efforts to have him freed, because she believed that was the way both of them understood human rights.
The detained activist used to work for President Tsai Ing-wen’s Democratic Progressive Party, but later became active with non-governmental organizations.