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Taiwan rights activist pleads guilty in China subversion trial

A Taiwanese activist charged with subverting state power on Monday pleaded guilty at a trial in the Chinese province of Hunan.

“I plead guilty and repent,” said Lee Ming-che, a community college teacher, and human rights activist.

Lee admitted to publishing articles and taking part in activities in Guangzhou that “maliciously smear and attack the Chinese Communist Party, the Chinese government, and China’s current political system.”

He was on trial with Chinese activist Peng Yuhua for endangering national security and stability.

Lee’s hearing the first time a Taiwanese rights activist will stand trial in China was periodically uploaded by the court in Yueyang City.

Lee’s Wife, Lee Ching-yu, Lee’s mother, and several legal advisors from Taiwanese NGOs arrived in the city of Yueyang for the trial before entering the court to observe the trial.

Lee’s wife released a letter to her husband in which she said would not admit that it is a real court she would not hire a lawyer, Taiwan’s state-run Central News Agency reported on Monday.

She plans to hold a news conference after the trial.

She said on Saturday that in Taipei that her husband might plead guilty because he would be under pressure from China.

Lee went missing in March after he entered China from the former Portuguese colony of Macau on March 19.

He was later confirmed to be in custody in China, a country which authorities claim he was frequently visiting since 2012 in order to network, build illegal organisations and plot or carry out subversion of state power.

Lee had previously run online lectures about Taiwan’s democratization and managed a fund supporting families of political prisoners in China.

Chinese courts are notorious for their high conviction rates; over 99 per cent of defendants are found guilty.

Subverting state power can carry a sentence up to life in jail.

The case has strained relations between Taiwan and China, which have been at an all time low since the election of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

 

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