TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s Presidential Office said in a statement shortly after the Chinese court had reached a final verdict against Taiwanese human rights activist Lee Ming-che (李明哲) on Tuesday morning that the 5-year sentence imposed upon Lee is “inadmissible”.
After being detained by the Chinese authorities for over eight months on the charge of “subversion of state power”, Lee’s sentence was handed down by the Hunan Province Yueyang City Intermediate People's Court at 9:15 a.m.
Apart from facing a five-year sentence in prison, Lee will also be deprived of political rights for two years.
Lee declared at the court that he would not file an appeal against the court’s ruling.
“Spreading ideas of democracy is not a crime!” exclaimed the Presidential Office at the beginning of its statement responding to the verdict.
The office said Lee’s ruling would seriously harm cross-strait relations, for it challenged the insistence and belief in democracy and freedom held by Taiwanese people.
The office urged Beijing to release Lee as soon as possible and allow him to return to Taiwan.
The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) also issued a statement reiterating that it would not accept the ruling against Lee as he had not been involved in any wrongdoing that would have endangered the security and stability of Chinese society.
Andrew Lee (李憲章), spokesperson for Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the ministry would not comment on the case since Taiwan-China affairs were usually handled by the MAC.
Lee’s wife, Lee Ching-yu (李凈瑜), attended the sentence hearing along with Shih Chia (施笳), daughter of former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德), and two officials from Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation.
Wang Li-ping (王麗萍), a former DPP lawmaker, also accompanied Lee Ching-yu on the trip to China, but she was later denied entry to the country and forced to fly back to Taiwan via Hong Kong.