After five years in China’s jail, Taiwanese NGO activist Lee Ming-Che was freed in April. He and his wife revealed the stories behind his arrest in a press conference on May 10.
In May 2017, Lee disappeared on Chinese soil. He called it a kidnap. The Chinese court sentenced him to five years in prison for subversion in the same year.
Lee Mingzhe’s wife has launched an international rescue campaign since then. He was released on April 15, 2022, and returned to Taiwan in the same month.
During the press briefing, Lee said that he was forced to make clothing, like shoes and gloves. Speaking to most other prisoners was prohibited.
He said, “It was totally a sweatshop.”
Apollo News reported that the activist said the forced labor in China was serious. He referred to Article 71 of China’s Prison Law that prison shall work for eight hours, with one-hour-extended acceptance. However, they had to work 11-12 hours per day.
Prisoners like him in Chishan Prison don’t have days off, except for the 4-day-celebration of the New Year.
Referring to his confession in the Chinese court, Lee said that these testimonies were meaningless and the trial itself was illegal. He said that he did everything to go home.
Lee said that Chinese judicial officials constantly threatened him that he might face life imprisonment. They pressured him by asking whether he wanted to return home to take care of his parents. This made him even more scared. The security personnel further forced him to admit that an official unit funded him.
The activist additionally shared that these officials initially wanted to convict him of espionage. However, he refused to plead guilty according to their intended charge for him. Lee finally ended up with the charge of subversion of the country.
Li Jingyu, Lee’s wife, refused to hire a lawyer because she supposed that the public trials in China are not trustworthy. She called it a “fascist circus.” Her husband was not allowed to make a defense in court. He was just permitted to read a pre-examined confession.
Lee added that the Communist Regime had completed the evidence search before arresting him. They took relevant statements on the Internet, including QQ and Facebook, as evidence of his crime. He also had to undergo interrogation by secret agents in isolation.
The activist admitted to being panicked at the time. He felt helpless under the dictatorship regime. He stated that he did not violate Chinese laws or endanger the Chinese government at the conference.