Visit our new website:

Wife of Detained Taiwan Activist 'Silenced' After His Trial in China's Hunan

  • Wed, 13 Sep 2017 01:09

The wife of detained Taiwan NGO worker and democracy activist Lee Ming-cheh, who pleaded guilty to subversion charges at his trial on Monday, was prevented from holding a news conference after the trial ended, a rights activist in the city told RFA on Tuesday.

Lee, the first foreign national to be held under new laws governing NGO activity in China, stood trial  on Monday alongside Chinese national Peng Yuhua at the Intermediate People's Court in Hunan's Yueyang city, where he "confessed" to charges of "incitement to subvert state power."

Rights activist Xu Qin said Lee's wife Lee Ching-yu had planned to hold a news conference following her husband's trial, but had been prevented from doing so.

"After the trial ended, Lee Ching-yu had planned to give a news conference, but was thrown out of the conference room in the guesthouse where she was staying," Xu said. "They wouldn't let her hold it outside the room either."

"They hurried her out onto the street, but she couldn't [speak to journalists] there either."

When Lee did manage to speak to journalists briefly on Monday, she told them that her husband's guilty plea "wasn't made freely."

London-based rights group Amnesty International has called for Lee's immediate release in the absence of conclusive evidence proving an internationally recognizable offense.

Xu said Lee Ching-yu had been "exhausted" by her experience in China, and had arrived back in Taiwan on Tuesday.

Dozens questioned

Dozens of supporters who traveled to the central province of Hunan to show support for detained Taiwanese activist Lee Ming-cheh have been questioned by state security police after arriving back in their hometowns, activists told RFA on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, activist Bao Naigang said he was among an unknown number of people detained outside the court buildings and forcibly returned to his hometown by state security police on Monday.

He said the authorities were likely hoping to silence the country's dissidents and activist community ahead of the 19th Party Congress next month, where President Xi Jinping will be looking to consolidate his power at the head of the ruling Chinese Congress Party.

"I think they want to use this case to to shut up anyone who might be thinking about posting their opinions online around the 19th Party Congress," Bao said.

Bao said the supporters who showed up in Yueyang had likely heard about the case via social media, rather than being personally connected to either Lee or his Hunan-based fellow activist and co-defendant Peng Yuhua.

"Peng Yuhua isn't very well known in China, and all he has done in the past is post to a few chat groups on QQ," he said. "But they would definitely have been able to start fitting him up once Lee Ming-cheh joined the group chat."

Fellow rights activist Ou Biaofeng said he believes Peng was just brought in and pressured into confessing so as to put further pressure on Lee.

"I hadn't even heard of Peng Yuhua ... before the Lee Ming-cheh case was announced by the [Yueyang court]," Ou said. "I asked a lot of my friends, and they said they'd never heard of him either."

'Wouldn't let people attend'

Chifeng-based rights activist Yuan Bing said he was contacted by his local state security police after a tip-off from the Yueyang authorities that he had shown up outside the Yueyang court to show support for Lee.

"They wouldn't say it out straight but I think this had to do with the Lee Ming-cheh case," Yuan said. "The government claimed that this was an open trial, but then they wouldn't let people attend [in the public gallery]."

Yuan said he was later followed by large numbers of state security police after he met friends for dinner.

"We succeeded in eating together without any interference, but they were watching us the whole time," he said. "They heard everything that we were talking about, and they were shooting video and taking photographs."

"Maybe they plan to use it as evidence to send us to jail later," Yuan said.

Reported by Yang Fan for RFA's Mandarin Service, and by Wen Yuqing for the Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

RFA Home


Related Stories

Surprise crop growth amid North Korea’s worst drought in nearly two decades
  • Fri, 22 Sep 2017 20:10

North Korea appears to have emerged almost unscathed from its worst drought in nearly two decades in a sign of massively improved agricultural capabil...

Syrian activist and daughter 'murdered' in Turkey
  • Fri, 22 Sep 2017 19:59

The bodies of Orouba and Halla Barakat were found in their flat in Istanbul, Turkish police say. BBC News - Middle East

F1 Mexican GP to go ahead after passing earthquake tests
  • Fri, 22 Sep 2017 19:45

Formula 1 Fri 22 Sep, AT 12:55 F1 Mexican GP to go ahead after passing earthquake tests Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez did n...

The world seems to think ‘bitcoin bad’ – but it’s not the only currency that needs to settle down
  • Fri, 22 Sep 2017 19:15

“Bitcoin or other digital currencies do not require holders to trade under their real name, which allows them to be used for money-laundering ac...

Freedom fighter or curse? The man behind the Rohingya insurgency in Myanmar that sparked a refugee crisis
  • Fri, 22 Sep 2017 18:09

To his foes, Ata Ullah is a reckless amateur who has brought untold misery to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya after launching an insurgency in Myanm...

Shopping, dining, narrow streets and graffiti: Hong Kong lures Japanese tourists with Central focus
  • Fri, 22 Sep 2017 17:09

The Hong Kong Tourism Board is placing the more gritty delights of Central at the heart of its campaign at this year’s Tourism Expo Japan, which...

After Harvey and Irma, what’s the future of flood insurance?
  • Fri, 22 Sep 2017 16:31

JUDY WOODRUFF: This hurricane season has seen one devastating storm after another. Harvey, Irma and now Maria have left communities in ruin in their w...

India Twitter celebrates Kuldeep Yadav hat-trick
  • Fri, 22 Sep 2017 16:09

The spin bowler is only the third Indian to take a hat-trick in one-day international cricket. BBC News - Asia

India calls Pakistan ‘Terroristan’ in UN speech row
  • Fri, 22 Sep 2017 14:09

India uses a right of reply to make an angry statement after Pakistani PM's Kashmir comments. BBC News - Asia

Sammy Watkins leaves game vs. 49ers after being evaluated for a concussion
  • Fri, 22 Sep 2017 13:37

Watkins suffered the injury in the 4th quarter. Sammy Watkins left the Rams’ game against the 49ers after taking a hit to the head. Watkins was take...

North Korea Official Threatens Hydrogen Bomb Test Over Pacific
  • Fri, 22 Sep 2017 13:13

Foreign Minister Ri Yong said his nation might consider a historic test over the Pacific Ocean, just hours after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un insul...

Disney Parks After Dark: Sunset at Copper Creek Villas & Cabins
  • Fri, 22 Sep 2017 12:24

Check out a spectacular summer sunset at Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge in tonight’s “After Dark” image. Coppe...

News Categories