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MAC calls on China to improve human rights protection

2018/07/12 21:07:23

Chen Ming-tong (陳明通/CNA file photo)

Taipei, July 12 (CNA) Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) on Thursday called on China to release Taiwanese democracy advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲) and other detained Chinese dissidents so that it can advance human rights protection and improve cross-Taiwan Strait relations.

Chen said that protecting human rights and treating human right activists and dissidents well are the necessary ways to bridge the psychological distance between the two sides of the strait.

Chen made the comments after China on Wednesday sentenced Qin Yongmin (秦永敏), a veteran pro-democracy campaigner, to 13 years in prison for "subversion of state power."

Qin, 64, the founder of a pro-democracy group called China Human Rights Watch, has already spent 23 years behind bars, making him one of the longest jailed political prisoners during the last four decades.

Chiu said at a regular press conference that Taiwan's government has always kept a close watch on the democratic development and human rights situation in China and has on several occasions called on Beijing to respect universal values, such as freedom, democracy, human rights and rule of law.

He also called on China to rationally treat Qin and other Chinese dissidents, who provide suggestions for the overall development of China.

He added that Taiwan's government wanted to express respect for the late Chinese Nobel Peace Prize-winner Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波), one of China's most renowned political dissidents, and his wife Liu Xia (劉霞), for their promotion of constitutional reform and democracy and freedom in China.

Liu Xia, who had been under house arrest and constant surveillance by the Chinese government, was allowed to leave China for Germany this week.

Meanwhile, Chiu made an appeal to China for the early release of other Chinese human rights activists and Taiwanese democracy advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲), who has been detained since March 2017 and sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of "subversion of state power" in November last year.

Chiu said only through fulfillment of universal values such as democracy and rule of law, can peaceful and stable development in China and benevolent interactions between Taiwan and the mainland be achieved.

(By Chai Sze-chia and Evelyn Kao)