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Detained activist's wife slams Beijing's move to provide legal counsel

2017/06/14 22:56:48

Lee Ching-yu (center), CNA file photo

Taipei, June 14 (CNA) The wife of Lee Ming-che (李明哲), a Taiwanese human rights advocate who has been detained in China since March 19, on Wednesday questioned Beijing's motive to provide a lawyer for her husband and she vowed to die with him if it came to that.

Lee Ching-yu's (李凈瑜) was responding to a statement earlier in the day by China's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光), who said at a press conference that the Chinese government had retained a lawyer for Lee Ming-che, in accordance with his wishes.

In a statement issued later in the day, Lee Ching-yu took issue with Ma's comment, saying that it was nothing but an attempt at propaganda after Chinese authorities had arrested her husband, questioning him in secret, and isolated him from the outside world for 87 days.

"And they dare claim it (the provision of legal counsel) was in accordance with Lee Ming-che's wishes?" his wife wrote. "That is complete nonsense and an attempt to hoodwink the public."

She said Beijing's handling of the matter will impact the Taiwanese people's perception of China and make China's dream of unification with Taiwan even more unattainable.

She said she wants to remind the world that China is not a force for peace and stability in the region but only wants to harm civilization.

She also vowed to die with her husband, if it came to that. "If Lee Ming-che survives, I survive. If Lee Ming-che dies, I die," she wrote.

Meanwhile, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said it could not confirm that Lee Ming-che's rights were being protected in the current situation, referring to the latest development.

The Chinese government's claim that it is providing legal counsel in accordance with Lee's wishes is not convincing, given that his family has not been allowed to visit him, the MAC said, calling on Beijing to immediately allow such a visit.

According to the Chinese government, Lee, a staff member at Wenshan Community College in Taipei and a former Democratic Progressive Party worker, was arrested on charges of "subversion of state power" after he entered China on March 19 and has since been in detention in Hunan Province.

Meanwhile, at the press conference Wednesday, Ma Xiaoguang was asked to comment on the US Congressional Executive Commission on China's (CECC's) decision to add Lee Ming-che to its database of political prisoners.

Ma said Lee's case was a "suspected crime incident, not a so-called human rights incident" and he accused Lee's family of interfering in China's investigation of the case and "complaining to Westerners."

(By Lu Hsin-hui and Christie Chen)