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MAC urges China to explain arrest of Taiwan human rights advocate

ROC Central News Agency

2017/03/28 22:09:21

Taipei, March 28 (CNA) The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) called on China on Tuesday to explain what has happened to Taiwanese human rights and democracy advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲) whose wife said he has been detained by Chinese security authorities.

Lee has been missing since March 19 after entering Zhuhai City, Guangdong Province in China from Macao. His wife, Lee Ching-yu (李凈瑜), said she received word from "government sources late on Monday night" that her husband has been detained in China.

Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正), MAC deputy minister and spokesman, said Taiwan had not yet received any official word from China regarding Lee and his wife's "indirect" information should not be seen as public confirmation of his arrest.

"We urge China's relevant authorities to explain his case as soon as possible," Chiu said in reply to a CNA question over the phone.

The MAC said the government was concerned about Lee's safety and health and was doing everything it could to help his family determine his whereabouts.

After Lee's wife expressed concern her husband might not have enough money to obtain food or medicine for his high blood pressure, the MAC urged China to ensure ensure he receives any necessary medical assistance.

"I've asked the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) to forward medicine and NT$30,000 to him," she said. SEF is a semi-official organization authorized to handle day-to-day affairs in cross- strait relations.

According to Cheng Hsiu-chuan (鄭秀娟), president of Wenshan Community College in Taipei where Lee Ming-che is employed, he is a "clear thinking" staff member dedicated to democracy and human rights issues.

Lee, who was previously a Democratic Progressive Party worker, often shared information online with Chinese friends about Taiwan's transition to democracy, Cheng said.

In a press release issued last Friday, Amnesty International (AI) also expressed concern over Lee's safety, saying his disappearance once again raises serious questions about the safety of people working with civil society in China.

(By Miao Tsung-han and S.C. Chang)
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