Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Lee Ming-che case: Need international action

If only Li Ming-che were from here...

Today the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) of the ROC held a presser on the Lee case, the Taiwanese activist who was kidnapped in China (video). A foreign journalist whose identity I could not quite catch asked if the gov't had ask the US to speak to China, the government said that it had not yet used that channel. Perhaps it is time to go that route.

The case has sent a chill through the Taiwan activist community, for the China government said he threatened "national security".

Lee's wife recently attempted to go to Beijing, but was turned back at the airport in Taiwan. The China authorities had threatened her for speaking out, warning that her husband would suffer if she continued to publicly speak. Her statement is on the useful blog Whereislee:

  J Michael Cole noted:
Lee Ming-che was nabbed on March 19 after attempting to enter Zhuhai, in Guangdong Province, via Macau. The State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) has since said that Lee was detained for “endangering national security.” Chinese authorities have yet to provide any details as to which laws he may have broken, though it is suspected that his arrest may have occurred under the recently passed Foreign NGO Management Law, which severely constrains the ability of foreign NGOs to operate in China.
Cole reads this as a trap for Tsai, who was supposed to lash out...
Whatever satisfaction such an outburst would certainly provide, doing so would be counterproductive — in fact, if Tsai did so, she would be falling into the trap that has been set for her. There is very good reason to believe that the decision to detain Lee wasn’t made in the uppermost echelons of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), but rather by factions within the Party (presumably the Jiang faction, according to Chinese sources) or national security apparatus keen on manufacturing a crisis in the Taiwan Strait. In other words, not only is President Xi Jinping unlikely to have ordered the detention, he probably wasn’t even aware that this was happening until he was presented with a fait accompli. Given the stakes in the lead-up to the Party leadership reshuffle later this year and his self-positioning as the ablest defender to China, President Xi’s hands are thus tied, as letting Lee go after he was accused of “endangering national security” would be a sign of weakness. And in the current environment in China, which President Xi himself has helped to create, weakness can be fatal.
Unlike Chen Shui-bian, Tsai did not make a living as a talker, but as an analyst. Her public self is normally calm and analytical. Hence, as Cole observes, she left it to the civil society organizations to make the noise.

It would be great if one of the major world leaders were to take an interest in this case...
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dial Kushline!