TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- On Wednesday, China defended its five year sentence for Taiwanese activist Lee Ming-Che for subversion of state power while participating in political lectures that promoted democracy and helped families of jailed Chinese dissidents, saying the punishment was due to the degree of harm it had caused to the society.
The trial of Lee is a demonstration that has reminded the world of Beijing's crackdown on human rights which has certainly extended beyond China's borders. Taiwanese society is coping with the outcome of the trial, and has condemned the trial and sentencing as unacceptable.
The sentencing has also led to local Taiwanese hardening their attitudes towards the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which is the current ruling party in Taiwan.
Secretary general of the Taiwan Association for Human Rights Chiu E-Ling told the media that Lee's supporters would call on Tsai and her government to go beyond mere words, and try to seek justice for Lee and his family by securing his release. The Secretary general also emphasized that Lee has expressed his opinions while he was in Taiwan, so they should not be any of China's concern.
A response came from China's Taiwan Affairs Office Cabinet spokesperson Ma Xiaoguang, who told reporters on Wednesday that the sentencing was based on "the facts, nature and circumstances of the crime which Lee had committed and the degree of harm it had caused society."
He also said that, the degree to which Lee's actions were harmful to Chinese society was for the Chinese government to decide.
"Attempts by anyone to use this case to carry out political speculation and provoke confrontational sentiment between compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Straits will be in vain," Ma said as reported by the local media.
The Global Times, a Chinese government mouthpiece, expressed its opinion in an editorial released on Wednesday saying the DPP's statement would encourage Taiwanese residents to visit China and break its laws. It stated that it hopes the Taiwanese people will not accept such 'witchcraft' and will not be a part of its propaganda.
China cut off its contacts with the Taiwanese government in June of last year while also restricting the number of Chinese travelers to Taiwan, after President Tsai Ing-wen took office and refused to recognize the "1992 consensus".
It has lured away two of Taiwan's diplomatic allies and barred Taiwan from attending international gatherings to which Taiwan previously had access.
China has sent military jets near Taiwan's borders several times over the past few months, which serve as a reminder of the military threat China poses to Taiwan.