Wife slams mainland trial after Taiwan activist pleads guilty

Top News | 12 Sep 2017

A Taiwanese democracy activist pleaded guilty yesterday to charges of attempting to subvert Chinese government power, during a trial in the mainland that his wife called a "political show" and further soured cross-strait ties.

Lee Ming-cheh, 42, appeared alongside mainland co-defendant Peng Yuhua at Yueyang Intermediate People's Court in central Hunan province.

He appeared nervous as he confessed to charges of "subverting state power," stating he had written and distributed online articles that criticized the Communist Party and promoted democracy among other topics.

"I know that my behavior definitely violated Chinese law," said Lee, an NGO worker arrested during a trip to the mainland in March.

"The television news I watched in prison has made me understand China's development a little better. I know that my past thinking and the information I received was mistaken," he said.

"This mistaken thinking led me to violate the law. I express my guilt and regrets."

The articles were written at the direction of Peng, who he had become acquainted with online, and had met several times in the mainland, Lee said, under questioning from a prosecutor.

Taiwan's presidential spokesman Alex Huang said Taipei was "highly concerned" about Lee, including "his health and the rights he's entitled to."

Huang added: "The government's consistent stance is to ensure his personal safety and to make every effort we can to bring him home safely, under the premise of safeguarding our nation's dignity."

The trial concluded yesterday afternoon, but it is unclear when a verdict will be announced.

After the trial, Lee's wife, Lee Ching-yu, said: "The world and I today witnessed this big political show, and also witnessed the difference between Taiwan's core beliefs and values and that of China."

According to Patrick Poon, a China researcher at Amnesty International, the language the two co-defendants used to confess their crimes sounded rehearsed.

"The language they used was so much like the Chinese government's," he said, calling it a "sham trial."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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