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Wife of detained Taiwanese heads to China to visit husband

2018/01/30 11:21:49

Lee Ching-yu (CNA file photo)

Taipei, Jan. 30 (CNA) Lee Ching-yu (李凈瑜) is set to leave for China just before noon Tuesday to visit her husband Lee Ming-che (李明哲), who is in jail in China for his advocacy of democracy, according to the Taiwan Association for Human Rights (TAHR).

Lee Ching-yu received a notice from Chishan prison in Hunan province Monday and decided to travel there to visit her husband, even though she does not hold legal entry to China, TAHR secretary-general Chiu E-ling (邱伊翎) said Tuesday.

China revoked her Mainland Travel Permit (台胞證) in April 2017, but she was allowed to enter China to attend a trial hearing for her husband in September and the reading of his verdict in November.

It was not clear if she will be allowed to use the same method of entry on Tuesday.

According to the notice, dated Jan. 2, that was seen by TAHR, Lee Ming-che can be visited once a month on a Tuesday by up to three family members for no more than 30 minutes.

Lee Ming-che was sentenced by a court in China in November to five years in prison and two years' deprivation of political rights after being found guilty of "subversion of state power."

That came eight months after he went missing when he entered China from Macau. Since his disappearance, China has not allowed his family to visit him in prison, though family members were allowed to be in court for Lee Ming-che's trial hearing in September and when his verdict was announced in November.

Lee Ching-yu will not talk to media before the trip, but she will hold a press conference if she is denied entry into China, Chiu said.

Meanwhile, the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), Taiwan's semi-official agency responsible for handling contacts with China, issued a statement urging China to ensure Lee Ching-yu's entry.

The SEF said it made the appeal to its Chinese counterpart through a cross-strait communication channel Monday night after it learned of Lee Ching-yu's travel plans.

It has also arranged for a Taiwanese business association in Hunan to accompany her and offer her assistance during her trip.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan)