TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – On the 233rd day of Taiwanese human rights activist Lee Ming-che’s (李明哲) detention in China for alleged subversive activities, his supporters in Taiwan on Tuesday tied yellow ribbons on trees in an effort to emphasize their campaign for his release and return.
Lee disappeared after traveling from Macau to China on March 19, and it was only after days of reports in Taiwan that Beijing finally acknowledged they had detained him. Much later, they specified charges of subversion and said he had been held in the province of Hunan.
In September, he pleaded guilty at a trial which was derided as a show event, partly to scare off other non-governmental organizations concerned with human rights in the communist country.
On Tuesday, activists encouraged the public to write their wishes for Lee on yellow ribbons before tying them to trees. “Hoping you can come home soon,” one of their placards read.
His wife Lee Ching-yu (李淨瑜) wanted to travel to China each week to visit him in prison until he was freed, the Central News Agency reported the activists as saying, but her applications for the necessary travel documents had not been approved, making a mockery of Taiwan-China justice cooperation agreements which allowed relatives of Taiwanese suspects to visit them in China.
Earlier reports said a verdict in the subversion case against Lee could soon be expected from the Chinese court in the city of Yueyang which tried him.