Books, WeChat Posts Behind Taiwan Activist's Detention?

  • Books, WeChat Posts Behind Taiwan Activist's Detention?

Books, WeChat Posts Behind Taiwan Activist's Detention?

The Taiwan Association for Human Rights said Lee disappeared after clearing immigration on March 19 in Macau, and never showed up for a planned meeting later that day with a friend across the border in China's city of Zhuhai.

That comment came after Lee's wife, Lee Ching-yu, expressed concern on Tuesday that her husband might not have enough money for food or medications for his high blood pressure.

Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for China's Taiwan Affairs Office, confirmed Lee's detention and the charges on, saying he is in "good health", but gave no further details.

"A Taiwanese who entered China legally should not be arrested and detained at will for nine days without notifying relatives or legal counsel", they said in a joint statement Wednesday. Several NGOs were forced to shut down operations in China in the wake of the law's passing, and campaigners have said it represents President Xi Jinping's tightening grip on civil society.

Relations between Beijing and Taiwan have worsened in the past year, largely because Beijing distrusts the DPP, which took power last year and traditionally supports independence for Taiwan. Taiwan has been self-ruled since 1949 following a civil war on the mainland, but it has never formally declared independence and Beijing still claims it as part of its territory.

Global human rights organisations rallied to Lee's defence after China announced it was holding him. Earlier this month, Taiwan's national security authorities estimated that there were 5,000 spies in Taiwan collecting information and state secrets for the Chinese government.

"Lee Ming-cheh's detention on vague national security grounds will alarm all those that work with NGOs in China", Nicholas Bequelin, East Asia director at Amnesty International, said in a press release. Rights groups say activists are increasingly being accused of subversion or other crimes against state security.

Lee, a manager at the Taipei Wenshan Community College in the Taiwanese capital, has been a long-term supporter of civil society organizations and activists in China for many years, as well as a lifelong DPP member and former member of a local party executive group.

Cheng Hsui-chuan, president of a Taipei college where Lee also worked, told the AP that Lee had caught the attention of Chinese security officials by using WeChat to discuss and "teach" China-Taiwan relations with fellow users.

"It will lead nowhere if Taiwan's authorities attempt to guard their wrong political path with bluffs or so-called military strategies", Ma said, adding that it would only increase tension and confrontation between the two sides and hinder social and economic development on the island.

Ma said Taiwanese people coming to China for "normal" activities did not have anything to worry about and their rights would be protected.