Trail underway in Yueyang (Hunan). Huge security measures. Lee maintained contact with civil society groups in China, sharing Taiwan's "democratic experiences" with them. His wife present at the trial.
Beijing (AsiaNews) - Taiwanese activist Lee Ming-cheh has "confessed" his guilt, admitting he wants to subvert the power of the Chinese state.
Lee pleaded guilty before a court in Yueyang (Hunan). There was a massive deployment of security ahead of the session, with barricades on the streets, dozens of police officers in the area, and a ban on journalists covering the event.
Lee Ming-cheh, 42, is a member of a Taiwanese NGO working for democracy. He has had frequent contact with civil society groups in China and has shared the "democratic experiences" in Taiwan with them, sending them several books. Last March 19, he went missing in transit from Macau to China through Zhuhai. For over 170 days, China never wanted to say where he was and for a long time his wife thought he was missing.
His wife, Lee Ching-yu, arrived in Yueyang in the morning. Before leaving Taiwan, she had warned public opinion of possible Chinese authorities' pressure on her husband to make him confess his alleged guilt.
China applies stringent laws for NGOs and all civil society associations, who dare to highlight problems or criticize the workings of the Communist Party. The campaign has led to the arrest of activists, human rights lawyers, dissidents. It has become common practice to film the "guilty" who "confess" to their crime in videos.
Lee's condemnation is another blow to relations between China and Taiwan at a historic low after Tsai Ing-wen's victory in presidential elections, whose Democratic Progressive Party is pushing for independence. Xi Jinping has expressed himself against the threat of "separatism" on several occasions.
Lee shared Taiwan's "democratic experiences" with civil society groups in China. He was held in isolation by police for 170 days. His wife launches an international campaign for her release.
Lee Ming-che, the husband of Lee Ching-yu, disappeared in police custody on 19 March. He is suspected of "harming national security" and is under investigation in China. Lee is an activist for human rights and was supposed to meet a Chinese writer. His wife asks Beijing to respect him: "Every activist is innocent."
He is accused of subversion for promoting democracy in social media. He was tried in September after he went missing in March as he entered China. Taiwan reacted angrily. Relations between Beijing and Taipei are increasingly difficult.
The family reports that without their permission, the brain and heart of the deceased pro-democracy activist were taken. Relatives abroad accuse "the high wall of despotism" of the Chinese government.
Peng Ming was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2005. In the past he had a brilliant managerial career. Later he wrote books on democracy and environmental protection against the violent industrialization in the country. He was convicted of "terrorism." Still no word on Christian lawyer Jiang Tianyong. Dissident Xie Yang beaten by prison officers. Lawyer Huang Qi and reporter Liu Fei detained by police.