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Taiwan

Handle Taiwanese rights activist’s case with care, Tsai urges Beijing

On anniversary of June 4 crackdown, island’s leader also offers to share its democratic experience with the mainland

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 June, 2017, 6:49pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 June, 2017, 10:52pm

Leaders in Taiwan used the 28th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown to call on Beijing to handle the case of a detained Taiwanese human rights activist with care.

They also urged Beijing to promote democratic reforms to match its place as one of the world’s powers.

“It is true that China is rising, but it would be a great regret if democracy was absent during this process,” President Tsai Ing-wen said on Sunday, adding that the world’s respect came with democracy.

Tsai said Taiwan was willing to share its democratic experience with the mainland, including how it transformed from an authoritarian regime.

Taiwanese activist arrested for alleged subversion in mainland China

She also called on Beijing to deal with activist Li Ming-che in a “civilised way” so he could return to Taiwan safely.

“Li Ming-che has been held [on the mainland] for two months. It might be a small matter for the Chinese mainland, but it is a big issue for all Taiwanese,” she said.

Former president Ma Ying-jeou, who has issued a statement every year since the 1989 crackdown, also urged Beijing give justice to those who were wronged in the crackdown, saying it would promote democracy.

He also called on Beijing to deal with Li’s case in line with international practice, and allow Li’s relatives to visit him because “people across the Taiwan Strait” were watching developments.

Li, 42, a former employee of Tsai’s independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, went missing on March 19 after he entered Zhuhai from Macau. The mainland’s Taiwan Affairs Office said on May 26 that Li had been formally arrested on subversion charges.

The office said Li was 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.

June 4 blackout: China’s Weibo blocks overseas users from posting video and photos

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

Li’s wife, who is seeking help from both the Taiwanese government and international rights groups, has not been allowed to see her husband.

She said she had no confidence in courts on the mainland, claiming they are not the same as those of civilised countries.

Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council also asked Beijing to give a clear account of Li’s case as until now, Beijing had yet to provide further information or evidence about the subversion charges.