June 1, 2018
COUNTING THE DAYS:It has been 438 days since Lee Ming-che’s arrest in China and 1,000 days since Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang disappeared
A coalition of human rights groups yesterday said it would hold a series of events on Monday to mark the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre and called on people to stand up against Beijing’s human rights abuses.
China has over the past few years stepped up its suppression of human rights, targeting not only its citizens inside the country, but also Chinese nationals abroad and foreigners in China, Taiwan Association for Human Rights secretary-general Chiu Ee-ling (邱伊翎) said.
“China is no longer just trying to undermine Taiwan’s sovereignty — it is now a threat to global human rights,” she said.
It has been 438 days since Taiwanese democracy advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲) was arrested in China and more than 1,000 days since Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang (王全璋) disappeared, she said, adding that Chinese poet Liu Xia (劉霞), the widow of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波), also remains under house arrest.
As China’s close neighbor, Taiwan must collaborate with the international community to make a stand against Beijing’s crackdown on human rights, she said.
In July 2015, during what later came to be known as the “709 crackdown,” Beijing arrested hundreds of human rights lawyers, many of whom were tortured, Taiwan Support China Human Rights Lawyers Network convener Kuo Chi-jen (郭吉仁) said.
“Following the crackdown, things have continued to worsen,” he said. “Since August last year, the government has suspended the licenses of 17 human rights lawyers. While most of them were involved in the ‘709 crackdown,’ some were suspended simply because they defended a Falun Gong practitioner.”