A Taiwanese human rights advocate, Lee Ming-che, is detained in China, suspected of harming national security, according to Chinese government officials. Lee disappeared [BBC report] on March 19 after entering Macau. The Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council PRC [official website] reported that Lee is being held in accordance with legal principles, but the government has not released any details.
Rights groups and members of Lee's family are demanding [Reuters report] that the Chinese government either provide more information about the charges or release him and they further urge the government to permit Lee to see a lawyer and his family. Some activists believe this detention is linked to a new Chinese law which allows broader policing and surveillance laws for foreign non-governmental organizations in China.
China has faced continued international criticism for its treatment of human rights defenders, ranging from filing of arbitrary criminal charges, suspension or dismissal of law licenses, and disappearances. In February, the Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) [advocacy website] released its annual report, highlighting [JURIST report] intensified crackdowns on human rights defenders in China. In the report, the group alleged that human rights activities are being criminalized as political threats to national security. In December the UN called on China to investigate the disappearance [JURIST report] of human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong, after he had been missing for two months. The same month China suspended the law license[JURIST report] of prominent human rights lawyer Li Jinxing, over his apparent allegedly unacceptable behavior in court while defending a client. In September China handed down a 12-year sentence [JURIST report] to prominent human rights lawyer Xia Lin.
Published on Jurist Twenty's website on March 29, 2017.