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SEF staff to accompany human rights advocate's wife to Beijing

2017/04/04 21:15:11

Taipei, April 4 (CNA) The Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) confirmed Tuesday that its staff will accompany the wife of a detained Taiwanese human rights advocate to Beijing next Monday.

Lee Li-chen (李麗珍), SEF deputy secretary-general and spokeswoman, said the SEF has informed its mainland counterpart, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), of the appeal of Ming-che's (李明哲) wife and her flight details.

The SEF and ARATS are semi-official bodies set up by Taiwan and China to handle issues related to civilian exchanges in the absence of official ties.

The spokeswoman called on the Chinese side to "respect the wishes of Mrs. Lee, arrange for her to see her husband and ensure her freedom and safety while in China."

Lee Li-chen said SEF staff will accompany Mrs. Lee to Beijing, but noted that it will communicate with China on the level of staff to be sent as such a trip is unprecedented.

Lee Ching-yu (李凈瑜), wife of Lee Ming-che, said earlier Tuesday that she was no longer prepared to wait for information about her husband and she would go to Beijing next Monday.

Lee Ming-che, a former Democratic Progressive Party worker, has been detained since March 19 for what Beijing describes as suspicion of endangering China's national security.

Lee Ching-yu said at a press conference that she has already booked a 1 p.m. EVA Air flight for Beijing departing April 10.

After arriving in Beijing, she plans to call on the Taiwan Affairs Office under China's State Council, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, China's highest agency for both prosecution and investigation, and other agencies to ask to see her husband.

Lee emphasized that her trip to Beijing is not intended "to create a scene."

Several civic groups spoke out in support of Lee Ching-yu on Saturday, calling for Beijing to release her husband, adding that the detention is only likely to make the people of Taiwan even more wary of Beijing.

According to Cheng Hsiu-chuan (鄭秀娟), president of Wenshan Community College in Taipei where Lee Ming-che is employed, Lee is a "clear thinking" staff member dedicated to democracy and human rights issues.

Lee often shared information online with his Chinese friends about Taiwan's transition to democracy, Cheng said.

(By Kao Chao-fen, Liu Kuan-ting and Lilian Wu)