03/27/2018, 17.37
TAIWAN – CHINA
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Lee Ching-yu to visit husband, a Taiwanese activist jailed in China

The two are set to meet today. Lee Ming-cheh is serving a five-year sentence for “subversion”. On 19 March 2017, he went missing on entering the mainland from Macau. For more than 170 days, Chinese authorities refused to say where he was.

Taipei (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The wife of a Taiwanese human rights activist jailed in mainland China travelled to the country on Monday after being granted permission to visit him in prison for the first time. The case has strained relations between the two countries.

The Taiwan Association for Human Rights said Lee Ching-yu (pictured) left Taiwan on Monday to see her husband Lee Ming-cheh in prison in Changsha, capital of central China’s Hunan province.

Lee is serving a five-year prison sentence after he was convicted of “subversion” during a trial that began last September, which his wife dismisses as “a political show”.

During the proceedings, Lee admitted the charges, stating that he had written and distributed online articles that criticised the mainland’s ruling Communist Party and had promoted democracy.

The 43-year-old activist was often in touch with civil society groups in mainland China. He also discussed Taiwan’s democratic experiences online, sending books to his interlocutors.

On 19 March 2017, he went missing when he entered in China from Macau through Zhuhai. Chinese authorities kept silent for more than 170 days.

His wife thought he was missing, and eventually sought to enter China to find him, but was barred.

Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported Chinese authorities informed Lee through a mainland-based Taiwanese business association on Thursday that they would issue a one-off document allowing her to enter the mainland. Her previous application was rejected because she did not have a valid Mainland Travel Permit needed by Taiwanese citizens.

CNA said that Lee is being accompanied by an official from Taiwan’s semi-official Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), which handles relations with the mainland. She is set to return to Taiwan on tomorrow.

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