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Published On: Mon, May 15th, 2017

Lee Ching-yu, wife of detained Taiwanese NGO worker Lee Ming-cheh, to attend U.S. House Committe hearing

nsnbc : Seeking help internationally, Lee Ching-yu, the wife of the detained Taiwanese NGO worker Lee Ming-cheh, accompanied by a group supporting her in her attempt to free her husband, went to the United States on Sunday to attend a House committee hearing.

Lee Ching_yu_taiwan_May 2017Pleading for help internationally after attempts to secure the release of Lee Ming-che in the People’s Republic of China, Lee Ching-yu was invited to the USA by Ed Royce, member of the U.S. House of Representatives and chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, to attend the hearing. Meetings with local non-governmental organizations are also scheduled.

The group issued a statement on Sunday saying “Our first stop is to visit local non-governmental organizations in Washington and to seek help from the U.S. Congress.” Lee Ming-cheh has been held in China for 57 days since he went missing in late March. It took over one week before the government in Beijing admitted that the “disappeared” Lee Ming-yu had been detained.

He is being held by Chinese authorities on suspicion of “endangering national security.” Many believe that the detention results from his political stance and advocacy for human rights in China. The whereabouts of the “disappeared” Lee remain unknown and his family is concerned about his health and the human rights violations the detention may involve.

Lee’s wife, a long-time historian who is focused on the research of the White Terror, attempted to rescue Lee by flying to Beijing to meet with Chinese officials in April. However, she was informed that her travel permit was canceled by the Chinese government when she reached Taoyuan International Airport. In the earlier stage of the rescue, an alleged fixer tried to connect her to the Chinese authorities, but she refused to settle through unofficial channels. “If I accepted it, where is Taiwan’s dignity? Where are the values that I’ve been fighting for?” she said.

Lee Ching-yu and the group working to release Lee have been seeking help for Lee’s freedom, but due to Taiwan and China’s political situation, it’s hard to make progress. “We understand that there is a limitation to the help the Taiwan government is able to provide; we are seeking help from the international society,” said the group.

Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang admitted that the disappeared Taiwanese rights advocate had been detained. People who visit China have nothing to fear as long as the "behave normal"...

Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang admitted that the disappeared Taiwanese rights advocate had been detained. People who visit China have nothing to fear as long as they “behave normal”…

At a regular news conference in Beijing Wednesday, March 29, Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang, for the first time acknowledged that Lee had been detained, saying he was being investigated “on the suspicion of conducting activities damaging to national security.” Ma Xiaoguang did not specify what risk Lee Ming-che could have posed to the people’s republic’s “national security”.

He was showing no health problems, Ma said, following concern by his wife about high blood pressure and the possible absence of the necessary medicine. However, Beijing’s spokesman refused to answer questions from Taiwanese reporters as to Lee’s whereabouts, and he did not provide any details about what the former DPP worker had supposedly been doing.

Ma merely claimed that Taiwanese visitors to China had nothing to fear as long as they showed “normal” behavior as the country followed the rule of law. He did not specify what he meant with “normal” either or whether being outspoken about human rights issues was regarded as “not normal or rather normative behavior” in the people’s republic. The statement prompted nsnbc editor-in-chief Christof Lehmann to ironically question what “the people’s republic” considers as “normal or normative behavior”, and if that would include “shutting up about human rights concerns, working for low wages for the benefit of the people’s republic and to die as soon as possible after retirement – all for the good of the people”.

F/AK & CH/L – nsnbc 15.05.2017

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