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Taipei MRT turns down Amnesty International ad for activist jailed in China

Removing mentions of China and Lee Ming-che's full name did not work

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Ads by Amnesty International in support of Lee Ming-che never made it into Taipei's MRT system. 

Ads by Amnesty International in support of Lee Ming-che never made it into Taipei's MRT system.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation (TRTC) turned down two applications by Amnesty International for an ad supporting the case of Lee Ming-che (李明哲), the Taiwanese human rights activist jailed in China since 2017, reports said Thursday (Dec. 30).

Lee vanished after entering China from Macau in March 2017, and China waited months before it confirmed he had been detained for his contact with dissidents and human rights activists. At what was widely regarded as a show trial in November of that year, he was sentenced to five years in prison.

The Taiwan chapter of Amnesty International designed a comic book-style poster to bring attention to Lee’s fate on International Human Rights Day (Dec. 10). However, the TRTC objected to mentions of China and of Lee Ming-che’s full name, CNA reported.

After talks, Amnesty agreed to replace the word “China” with “mystery country” and refer to the activist as “Mr. Lee,” but the changes were still not enough. Human rights campaigners and politicians demanded an explanation from the company on how it decides whether to accept ads.

In a news release, the company said a review committee of 10 outside experts and three company representatives decides the fate of ads that might touch on controversial subjects. The TRTC said it would take outside opinions into account in future handling of such cases.