Lee Ching-yu returns to Taiwan without husband after bid to secure his temporary release

Lee tried to bargain with Chinese government so Lee Ming-che could attend father's funeral

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Lee Ching-yu returns to Taipei Taoyuan Intl. Airport on Sept. 24

Lee Ching-yu returns to Taipei Taoyuan Intl. Airport on Sept. 24 (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Earlier this week on Monday (Sept. 23), the wife of imprisoned Taiwanese human rights activist Lee Ming-che (李明哲) asked authorities in China to grant him temporary release to return to Taiwan to mourn the death of his father who passed away on Aug. 17.

Lee Ching-yu (李凈瑜), wife of Lee Ming-che, issued a statement Monday before boarding a flight to China to petition Chinese authorities directly. According to reports, Beijing has responded to Lee Ching-yu, denying her request to release the imprisoned Lee, declaring that granting such a request would be unlawful.

In her statement, Lee Ching-yu cited Chinese law, which says that the convicted are entitled to attend the funeral of their parents. Lee also offered to act “as a hostage” to make her own freedom collateral in order to convince Chinese authorities that her husband could be trusted to return.

Lee Ching-yu reportedly met with her husband in prison on Tuesday (Sept. 24). She relayed a message in which Lee declared that his deceased father would be proud of what his wife has done, and that he hopes that his mother can support Ching-yu’s bid to free him so that he might attend the funeral. However, Lee stated that he did not want his wife to be forced to serve as a hostage to the Chinese government on his behalf, reports Liberty Times.

Lee Ching-yu returned to Taiwan from China on the evening of Sept. 24 after informing her husband of his father’s death, and her unsuccessful bid to secure his temporary release from the communist government. Lee Ming-che was arrested in China in 2017, and is serving a five year sentence for the crime of “subverting state power.”