TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — The wife of a Taiwanese pro-democracy activist put on trial in China for subverting state power is asking for a visit with her husband amid tense relations between Beijing and Taipei.
Lee Ching-yu told reporters that China had no right to deprive her of the right to visit her husband, Lee Ming-che, and accused Beijing of denying her husband and family members basic legal guarantees.
Lee Ming-che's detention is "not in compliance with any law or procedure and violates human right conventions. (Chinese authorities) failed to notify family members, denied them the right to visit, and ignored the requests of a civilized society," Lee said.
Lee Ming-che conducted online lectures on Taiwan's democratization and managed a fund for families of political prisoners in China. He was detained upon crossing the border in southern China on March 19 and was put on trial earlier this month. No verdict has been announced.
At a news conference on Wednesday, a Chinese Cabinet spokesman did not comment directly on Lee's case, but said recognition of Taiwan as a part of China was becoming a global trend. A former Japanese province, Taiwan split from China amid civil war in 1949 and Beijing cut off contacts with the administration of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen last year after she refused to endorse Beijing's position that Taiwan is a part of China's territory.
"We oppose various forms of Taiwan Independence activities and are willing to continue to expand cross-strait communications, promote cross-strait economic and social integration and enhance support and close relations between the cross-strait compatriots," Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang said.
In response, newly appointed Taiwanese Premier William Lai reiterated that the self-governing island democracy of 23 million encompassed all the attributes of a sovereign nation, although it has yet to declare itself formally independent from mainland China.
"No matter from which aspect, Taiwan is a sovereign country," Lai said.
Lee's detention has raised concerns about the security of the hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese who reside in China or travel there on a regular basis for business, education or cultural exchanges. His prosecution is viewed not only as a warning to would-be overseas democracy activists, but also as part of Beijing's campaign of increasing diplomatic and economic pressure on Tsai's administration to compel her to acquiesce to its political demands.
Tsai has called on her Cabinet to explore ways of restoring contacts with Beijing, but has made no moves toward embracing China's "one-China principle."