09/11/2017, 09.26
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Taiwanese activist Lee Ming-cheh 'guilty' of subversion

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.

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