China warns against intrusions over detained Taiwan activist

AP News
Posted: Apr 11, 2017 11:31 PM

BEIJING (AP) — Beijing on Wednesday warned outside groups against seeking to intervene in the case of a Taiwanese pro-democracy activist detained in China, saying that would complicate matters and harm already tense relations between Taiwan and the mainland.

Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman An Fengshan said that China had passed on letters from Lee Ming-che, who is under investigation for endangering China's national security, to his wife and parents.

On Monday, Lee's wife was prevented from flying to Beijing to seek a meeting with her husband because China canceled her travel permit. China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, doesn't recognize Taiwanese passports and requires islanders to use to a Beijing-issued document called a Taiwan Compatriots Pass to visit the mainland.

Although Beijing cut off its already limited contacts with the island's government in June, An said it had commissioned a third-party in Taiwan to "relate the relevant situation" to Lee's wife and pass letters from Lee to her and his parents. Lee's wife, Lee Ching-yu, says he has hypertension and has attempted to have his medication shipped to him.

An told reporters at a biweekly news conference that authorities were protecting the legal rights of Lee, who was taken into custody on March 19, but that he had no other information about his case.

However, he said outside interference would "only render the issue even more complicated and harm the interests of the person concerned."

"A few Taiwanese people and groups with ulterior motives who are seizing this opportunity to attack the mainland are doomed to failure. They will not achieve their goal of interfering in the work of relevant mainland departments in handling the case by law," An said.

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An warned also against "attempts by the Taiwan authorities to use the incident to attack the mainland," saying that "can only make the current, already extremely grim cross-strait relationship even worse."

On Tuesday, the head of Taiwan's Cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council Chang Hsiao-yueh said China's refusal to respond to requests for information about Lee would "surely harm the feelings of the Taiwanese people."

"We are expressing our utmost disagreement toward China for refusing to respond to our inquiries and requests since the issue began," Chang said at a news conference.

China demands Taiwan's independence-leaning President Tsai Ing-wen endorse its view that the island and mainland are part of a single Chinese nation before it will restore contacts. The sides separated amid civil war in 1949.