TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-Cheng (邱垂正) called on China to respect democratic rights and release Taiwanese democracy activist Lee Ming-che (李明哲) as a means to improve cross-strait relations at a press conference on July 12, reported CNA.
Chiu said that the Taiwan government had paid close attention to the state of human rights and grassroots democracy in China, and that safeguarding human rights and treating activists with respect is the only way to close the psychological gap between China and Taiwan.
The MAC hopes for the early release of Taiwanese NGO worker, Lee Ming-che and other Chinese democracy advocates, saying that positive relations between China and Taiwan can only take place if protections on democratic rights and respect for rule of law are implemented in China.
The imprisonment of Lee has drawn international attention, with Human Rights Watch and other non-governmental organizations sending an open letter to EU leaders in June 2018, asking them to push China to release Lee and other activists, ahead of the EU-China summit.
During the press conference, Chiu recalled the fate of Chinese democracy activist and co-founder of the Democracy Party of China, Qin Yongmin (秦永敏) who was sentenced to 13 years in prison for "subversion of state power" on July 11.
He called on China to rationally consider the good suggestions of Qin and other democracy advocates, suggesting their ideas would have a positive effect on China’s overall development.