Wife of imprisoned Taiwan activist asks for his temporary release to mourn for late father

Lee Ming-che has been in a Chinese prison for two years

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Taiwanese activist Lee Ming-che (Source: CNA/ File photo)

Taiwanese activist Lee Ming-che (Source: CNA/ File photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The wife of imprisoned Taiwanese human rights activist Lee Ming-che (李明哲) has asked the Chinese government to grant him temporary leave so he can return to Taiwan to mourn for his late father.

Lee Ching-yu (李凈瑜) said in a statement on Monday afternoon (Sept. 23) that she was flying to China, possibly in the company of her mother-in-law, to see her husband and inform him of his father’s death. Lee Ming-che (李明哲) was sentenced to five years in prison in 2017 for “attempting to subvert state power” and is currently imprisoned in China's Hunan province.

According to Lee Ching-yu, she had requested that Chinese authorities allow Lee Ming-che to return to Taiwan for his father’s funeral upon learning of her father-in-law’s death on Aug. 17. She cited Chinese law, which states that the convicted are entitled to attend the funeral of their parents.

Lee Ching-yu said she could guarantee her husband’s return to the prison to complete his sentence. She added that she is willing to be held in the prison “as a hostage” while Lee Ming-che goes home “if China does not believe in the courage of Taiwanese.”

The request is based on the laws and humanitarian standards of a civilized world, remarked Lee Ching-yu, adding that she hopes China will live up to its own claim to be a civilized country.