Detained Taiwanese activist's wife arrives in China for his trial

Mrs Lee Ching-yu, wife of rights activist Lee Ming-che, at Taipei airport yesterday, on her way to Hunan, where the trial will be held.
Mrs Lee Ching-yu, wife of rights activist Lee Ming-che, at Taipei airport yesterday, on her way to Hunan, where the trial will be held.PHOTO: REUTERS
Mrs Lee Ching-yu, wife of rights activist Lee Ming-che (above), at Taipei airport yesterday, on her way to Hunan, where the trial will be held.
Mrs Lee Ching-yu, wife of rights activist Lee Ming-che (above), at Taipei airport yesterday, on her way to Hunan, where the trial will be held.PHOTO: REUTERS

TAIPEI • The wife of a Taiwanese rights activist being held in China has arrived in the mainland on the eve of his trial in a case that has further soured cross-strait relations.

Mrs Lee Ching-yu, wife of NGO worker Lee Ming-che who has been held incommunicado in China for more than 170 days, left for Shanghai yesterday around noon to connect to a flight to the central province of Hunan, where her husband's trial will be held.

"As we understand, she will be allowed in court, but we don't know if the rest of us will be able to get in," Taiwanese legal activist Xiao Yimin who is accompanying Mrs Lee said in a phone call.

Mr Lee's trial is set to start today at the intermediate people's court in Hunan's Yueyang city, according to his wife.

Mr Lee went missing during a visit to the mainland in March and the Chinese authorities later confirmed he was being investigated for suspected activities "endangering national security".

His wife had pleaded for the Taiwanese people to understand if her husband is "forced to confess" in court. "I go to (China) not to provoke or argue. I hope to see the arrival of justice and let Lee Ming-che return to Taiwan safe, and soon," she told reporters on Saturday.

Beijing has repeatedly ignored Taipei's requests for information on Mr Lee's whereabouts and details of the allegations against him.

Relations between the two sides have worsened since Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen took office in May last year. Beijing has cut off official communications with Taipei.

China sees self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory waiting to be reunified. It wants Ms Tsai to acknowledge the island is part of "One China", which she has refused to do.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 11, 2017, with the headline 'Detained Taiwanese activist's wife arrives in China for his trial'. Print Edition | Subscribe