Taiwan activist Lee Ming-che pleads guilty in China trial

Taiwan human rights activist Lee Ming-che pleads guilty of subverting Beijing's authority

Lee Ming-che (left) and his wife Lee Ching-yu (right) in Hunan court. (Weibo image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Lee Ming-che (李明哲), the Taiwanese human rights activist who has been held by China for alleged subversive activities since March 19 pleaded guilty of subversion today.

At the Yueyang Intermediate Court in Hunan Province, Lee pleaded guilty to subverting Beijing's authority, the first time a non-profit worker has been prosecuted on such charges since China passed a new strict law constraining foreign non-governmental organizations. 

Lee stated in court that he, "spread articles that maliciously attacked the Communist Party of China, China's existing system and China's government," reported AP.

Regarding the content of the prosecution, Lee said there was no objection and he thanked the law enforcement unit for its "civilized handling of the case."

Lee's wife, Lee Ching-yu (李凈瑜), who was invited by the Chinese government to attend the trial, told reporters on Saturday that she believed her husband may be pressured into pleading guilty, but was hopeful that he would eventually be released. Lee's mother, Kuo Hsiu-chin (郭秀秦), is also attending the trial. 

Earlier attempts by his wife to fly to China and visit him were barred by the authorities there, who canceled her travel document.

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 on to volunteer for a non-governmental organization that raised money for families of political prisoners in China and lecture on Taiwan's democratization at community colleges.