China to put Taiwanese rights activist on trial, invites wife

Lee's Chinese-appointed attorney phoned his wife: reports

Lee Ching-yu (center) and pictures of Lee Ming-che. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The attorney for the Taiwanese rights activist detained in China since March phoned his wife Wednesday to tell her she was invited to a trial which would soon start.

Lee Ming-che (李明哲) went missing on March 19 after crossing the border from Macau into China’s Guangdong Province. It took days before China confirmed rumors that he had been detained, and it accused him of suspected involvement in “subversion of state power.”

Lee, 42, is a former employee of President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) Democratic Progressive Party (民進黨) who expressed interest in China’s human rights situation and later went to volunteer for a non-governmental organization and work for a community college.

His wife Lee Ching-yu (李凈瑜) said Wednesday she had received a call from the government-appointed attorney for her husband, telling her the trial would soon start and she was invited to travel to China as soon as possible. She said she would apply for the necessary paper work on Thursday.

Earlier in the year, she already tried to board a flight to see him, but her travel documents were cancelled by the Chinese authorities, forcing her to remain in Taiwan.

A United Nations human rights panel agreed to investigate Lee’s detention, while non-governmental organizations and rights groups worldwide also paid attention to his predicament.

Flouting bilateral agreements, China never allowed any relatives to visit him, and was also extremely reticent about revealing details of his whereabouts.

The sudden news of an imminent trial came on the 171st day of his captivity.