March 28, 2018 / 10:06 AM / 4 months ago

Wife of Taiwan activist jailed in China says he can't send letters

TAOYUAN, Taiwan (Reuters) - The wife of Taiwanese activist Li Ming-che, who is serving a five-year prison sentence in China for subversion, said on Wednesday after visiting her husband that he looks well but can’t write letters and some books were not getting through.

Li, a community college lecturer and an activist at a human rights non-governmental organisation in Taiwan, disappeared while visiting China in March last year.

He was found guilty of subversion in November in a trial that his wife denounced as illegitimate and has since been held in central China’s Hunan province.

Li Ching-yu, his wife, visited her husband on Tuesday for the first time since he was jailed.

“Judging by his outward appearance, Li Ming-che’s current situation in prison seems all right, but his right to speak, as well as his basic communication rights are still being restricted,” Li told reporters after returning to Taiwan from China.

Her husband currently cannot write her letters, apparently, she was told, because he was too busy working, and he only received two of the 11 books she sent to him, Li said.

The couple spoke for 30 minutes by telephone, separated by glass, she said.

No one answered the telephone when Reuters called the publicly listed number for the jail where Li is being held.

The case has added tension in fraying ties between Taipei and Beijing. After the November ruling, Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party said it was strongly dissatisfied and called for Beijing to allow Li to return to Taiwan.

Li admitted during his trial to having criticised China’s ruling Communist Party and to having shared articles and arguments promoting Taiwan’s multi-party democracy.

China views self-ruled Taiwan as a wayward province and said last week Taiwan would face the “punishment of history” for any attempt at independence.

Reporting by Twinnie Siu; Writing by Christian Shepherd; Editing by Nick Macfie

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