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Taiwanese Activist Pleads Guilty in China to Conspiring Against Beijing

11 September 2017

"I spread some attacks, theories that maliciously attacked and defamed China's government, the Communist Party of China and China's current political system, and I incited the subversion of state power", Lee said, referring to comments written in an instant messaging group. Lee said he also organized people and wrote articles "intended to subvert the state's power".

Lee Ming-che, 42, cleared immigration in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory of Macau on March 19 and never showed up for a planned meeting later that day with a friend in the mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai. China and Taiwan split amid a civil war in 1949. In an interview (link in Chinese) with Taiwanese media, she said that she believes in the power of worldwide pressure, citing the role global organizations and media played in exposing the atrocities of Taiwan's military government.

The court said it would issue a verdict at a later date and that Lee would remain in custody.

Lee Ching-yu, wife of Taiwanese activist Lee Ming-Che shows the tattoo words on her arms, which reads "Lee Ming-Che, I'm proud of you" to the reporters at a hotel room after attending her husband's trial at the Yueyang Intermediate People's Court in south China's Hunan province, Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. This is the first prosecution of a nonprofit worker on criminal charges since Beijing passed a law tightening controls over foreign non-governmental organizations.

He also said he would work to facilitate unification between Taiwan and China if he goes back to Taiwan.

Amnesty International and other rights organizations have called for Lee Ming-che's immediate release.

Taiwanese Activist Pleads Guilty in China to Conspiring Against Beijing
Taiwanese Activist Pleads Guilty in China to Conspiring Against Beijing

Lee's wife, Lee Ching-yu (李凈瑜) was among the audience along with her mother-in-law, Kou Shou-chin (郭秀秦) and three Taiwanese media personnel.

Taiwan urged China to handle the case of Lee Ming-che with "caution", and an expert on cross-strait relations suggested that Lee was coerced into a confession. It is seen as an attempt to clamp down on perceived threats to the ruling Communist Party's control.

Ties between Beijing and Taipei have been strained since President Tsai Ing-wen, leader of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, took office previous year. China cut off contacts with Taiwan's government in June, five months after Tsai was elected.

The wife of a Taiwanese activist China accused of subversion said her husband may be pressured into pleading guilty when his trial opens today, but she remains hopeful that he can return home safely.

Lee Ming-che, a human rights activist from the self-ruled island of Taiwan, has confessed to charges of subversion by the Chinese government, according to video footage of his trial released by the Beijing authorities.

The lawyer speculated that the timing of the proceedings was deliberately set for Monday to stop Lee's wife, Lee Ching-yu (李凈瑜), from traveling to Geneva on September 10 and reporting on her husband's case at a meeting of the United Nations working groups on arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances. Before leaving for China she had asked that Lee's supporters to forgive him for anything he might say that disappoints them during the hearing.

Taiwanese Activist Pleads Guilty in China to Conspiring Against Beijing