Taiwan rights activist’s wife demands answers after arrest in China

Spouse says she not has been officially notified of her husband’s arrest, or given basic information on Li Ming-che’s whereabouts after he was held on subversion charges

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 May, 2017, 11:21am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 May, 2017, 11:20pm

The wife of the detained Taiwanese human rights activist Li Ming-che has voiced protest against the authorities in mainland China for failing to officially notify her of her husband’s arrest.

“Until now, we have yet to receive any official notification from the Chinese government about the arrest and the so-called charges against my husband,” Li Ching-yu said in a statement on Monday.

The mainland’s Taiwan Affairs Office announced on Friday night that Li had been formally arrested on subversion charges.

Taiwanese activist arrested for alleged subversion in mainland China

The office said Li was recently arrested by security agencies in Hunan province on suspicion of subverting state power. It said Li had frequently visited the mainland since 2012, allegedly collaborating with individuals to set up illegal organisations and to organise and carry out seditious activities to try to overthrow the country’s political system.

The office claimed that Li and others had confessed to engaging in activities that endangered national security.

Li, 42, a former employee of the independence leaning political party the Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan, went missing on March 19 after he entered Zhuhai on the mainland from Macau.

He may be the first Taiwanese civilian to be charged with subversion, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Li’s wife, who has sought help from the Taiwanese government and concerned groups in the United States, said her husband was “low-key” and had merely exchanged ideas on democracy with friends he made on the social media network WeChat. She said her husband travelled to the mainland once a year.

She said since the announcement on Friday, the mainland authorities have provided no other information about the arrest, including where Li was held and whether his relatives would be allowed to visit, in line with an agreement between the mainland and Taiwan on fighting cross-strait crimes.

The agreement states that relatives of Taiwanese arrested would be notified within 24 hours of their detention and that relatives can arrange to visit them.

‘Let me visit my husband’, wife of detained Taiwanese rights activist urges Beijing

The Taiwan Association for Human Rights which is helping Li’s wife, said on Sunday it would launch a local and international petition for the release of Li.

Chiu E-ling, the association’s secretary general, said the group would organise a trip to Europe in either June or September to rally support for Li.