Taiwan NGO urges Beijing to free jailed human rights activists

07/09/2017 08:02 PM
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Taipei, July 9 (CNA) A Taiwanese non-governmental organization on Sunday urged Chinese authorities to free jailed Chinese human rights lawyers, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) and Taiwanese human rights activist Lee Ming-che (李明哲).

The Taiwan Support China Human Rights Lawyers Network made the call at a gathering in Taipei, held to mark the second anniversary of the "709 Crackdown" on human rights lawyers around mainland China in 2015.

The term "709" refers to the start of the crackdown on July 9, 2015. Hundreds of human rights lawyers and ­activists were arrested, summoned for questioning or held incommunicado by Chinese public security personnel.

As of the end of May this year, the number of people caught up in the crackdown had reached 320, including Wang Quanzhang (王全璋), a human rights lawyer held incommunicado for more than 700 days, according to the network.

Network convener Kuo Chi-jen (郭吉仁), also a lawyer, claimed some of the jailed human rights lawyers have been drugged and restrained in straight-jackets. Confining movement in such a way is tantamount to mental torture, he said.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) said at the Taipei event that the way Chinese authorities treat jailed lawyers and activists violates the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Expressing her fear that Taiwan's Lee could have received such treatment, Yu suggested Taiwan continue to publicly call for Lee's release.

The European Parliament passed a resolution on July 6 calling on the Chinese government to let Liu Xiaobo receive medical treatment overseas for late-stage liver cancer and release Lee, who has been detained in China since March on charges of "subversion of state power."

Lee was a DPP worker who served as a staff member at Wenshan Community College in Taipei and a volunteer at the local NGO Covenant Watch before his arrest.

(By Ku Chuan and Elizabeth Hsu) ENDITEM/AW/

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