Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Lee Ming-che in Sham Trial

On March 19 Lee Ming-che, a Taiwanese democracy activist, went missing in China. On Monday, in a farcical show trial, Lee pleaded guilty to "subversion of state power" and promised that when he returned to Taiwan, he would work for annexation of Taiwan to China...
Cole observes:
The aims of this “open” trial — footage and a transcript of Lee’s “confession” were released to the public — were twofold, but both contained a warning. It was for domestic consumption in China, replete with the usual CCP nationalistic jingoism and the threat of dire repercussions for whomever opposes, or even criticizes, the authoritarian regime. And it was a fire across the bow aimed at Taiwan, a signal that China’s new national security and foreign NGO laws have, as had long been feared, concrete extraterritorial applicability: the inclusion of Taiwan in Chinese laws is no longer simple rhetoric; under President Xi Jinping, the state-party apparatus now has the wherewithal to arrest, capture, disappear and to prosecute Taiwanese nationals for purported — and intentionally loosely defined — national security crimes.
Two years ago the International Federation of Journalists predicted something like this might happen:
The ATJ said Article 81 would subject Taiwanese citizens who enter China to investigation and potential prosecution by PRC authorities. “These laws will place Taiwan news workers into a high risk group if this law is enacted,” it said.

The IFJ shares the ATJ’s concerns and has called on the National People’s Congress to respect Taiwan’s sovereignty as a democratic and independent state and said: “In its current form, this law will seriously impinge on the civil and political rights of the Taiwan people, Taiwan Journalists and their freedom of expression.”
Lee's very public trial was also aimed at anyone who might oppose the CCP, anywhere -- surely its chilling effect will not be limited to Taiwan, but will also be felt heavily in Hong Kong, and among ethnic Chinese communities abroad, which Beijing monitors and influences. Lee's trial also made it into the UN civil rights discussions (
Whether by sheer coincidence or cynical orchestration on Beijing’s behalf, Lee’s trial coincides with the start of a meeting in Geneva of a United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. Lee’s disappearance is one of the cases that will be discussed at the meeting.
During the long period of detention and trial Beijing basically ignored its agreement with Taipei on Taiwanese who are prisoners in , the Judicial Mutual Assistance Agreement. That ought to give everyone pause, because so many advocate that Tsai Ing-wen should "negotiate" or "make a breathrough" or similar. But Beijing has shown that the agreements its enters into with Taiwan, formal or informal, are subject to arbitrary violation without warning or negotiation.

As if we didn't already know that...
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1 comment:

Matt Stone said...

On the general subject of Taiwan – not just its democracy – this weekend, the annual Taiwan Fair is being held here in Sydney. The event is being held just up the road from me in Chatswood town centre. Sponsors include (among many others) the Taiwan Trade Centre, Taiwan Tourism, Council of Indigenous Peoples and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Among the attractions such as dance troupes, puppet shows, etc., there will be a promotional stall for the Taichung City Government.

I believe Taichung is the home of VFT? If all goes well, you should get ready for an influx of Aussie tourists in the coming months....