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‘I know he is alive’: wife of Taiwan activist seized by China pleads for release

Lee Ming-che has been detained by Beijing authorities amid a aimed at providing activists, dissidents and scholars based abroad

The wife of a Taiwanese human rights activist detained in China for over a month without charge has vowed to take her fight for justice to the US and European union, urging them to pressure Beijing to liberate him.

It has now been 40 periods since Lee Ching-yus partner, best friend and confidante suddenly faded while travelling to inspect friends in Guangzhou, southern China.

Beijing, which views democratic Taiwan as a renegade state, declared merely after 10 periods that Lee Ming-che, 42, their home communities college laborer known for supporting human rights, had been detained for allegedly menacing national security.

He is feared to be the latest victim of an escalation in Chinas repression of rights and free speech.

It is merely through international supporting that we can force-out a number of countries that encroaches on human rights to stop this action, Lee Ching-yu told The Guardian in her first interview with the British press. She intends to seek help in Washington DC and Brussels next month.

Under standard Chinese criminal law, Lees husband should have been charged or released on Monday, after 37 periods in custody.

Instead, her the expectations of a speedy resolution were shattered on Wednesday when Chinas Taiwan liaisons office announced that Lee was still under investigation, that his health was good, and that he has clearly clarified the relevant situation to his family in a letter.

The letter, which contained scant information, was delivered in early April by an unofficial middleman Lee Ching-yu did not know whether to trust.

It was my husbands handwriting but he made no connection with me, she announced. He did not write that letter voluntarily.

Lee, likewise 42, has struggled largely alone, with the support of a few neighbourhood activists, to disclose the truth.

With little government supporting, she has fended off unidentified agents offering assist through unofficial channels.

One recommended her stillnes and inaction might buy her husbands liberty, or at least spare him the shame of a video confession. But Lee has refused to ten-strike a backroom deal.

She is defiant but the straining of her ordeal has established her visibly more gaunt and she often opposes back tears. I have to keep a strong face in front of the media, but when I find my husbands photo I get very emotional, she announced.

The couple met at college 20 years ago and were drawn to each other through a shared ardour for human rights.

Lee Ching-yu became a researcher at the Shin Ming-te foundation, examining its own history of Taiwans own pitch-dark period of martial law, when thousands were disappeared. Her work both makes her strength and haunts her. I can imagine what my husband might have gone through, she said.

Lee Ming-che deterred his human rights work low key. Advocates believe he may have been targeted after communicating openly on Chinese messaging service WeChat about Taiwanese democracy.

The appreciates and notions that my husband maintains and spreads would not be charged in any democratic or civilised country, announced Lee.

She broke down describing how he had tried to help the poverty-stricken those who are relatives of Chinese activists, imprisoned for their beliefs.

At least I know my husband is alive, she announced. Others who vanish dont receive the same media attention and they might be in more peril. When I realise how severe the situation in China is, its hard to stay calm.

Lee has approached the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances for help.

Her spouses occurrence has been complicated by Taiwans lack of international clout and by frozen diplomatic ties between Taipei and Beijing over Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wens refusal to endorse Chinas was of the opinion that the self-governed island and mainland are part of a single Chinese nation.

Taiwans government maintains it is working behind the scenes to resolve Lees case, but neighbourhood NGOs argue they could do more.

Mrs Lee is already standing so strongwe need support from the government , is not simply to simply keep it low key, announced E-Ling Chiu, head of the Taiwan Association for Human Rights.

Many fear Lee may have fallen pollute of a harsh new Chinese law to monitor and control foreign-funded NGOs, enforced earlier this year as part of a crackdown on civil society.

The environment for external and domestic human rights NGOs had become treacherous, announced Maya Wang an Asia researcher with Human Rights Watch.

The case of Mr Lee fits within the greater pattern of a new trend of the Chinese government targeting activists, dissidents, or even scholars based abroad, she announced. All of these cases deserve equal press and attention.

However, Lee may also have become a pawn in internal Chinese politics by factions to report to President Xi Jinpings saw mild approaching to Taiwan, ventured Michael Cole, a Taipei-based political analyst.

It would be difficult for Xi to back down while demonstrating strength over Taiwan, he announced. Evenly, Tsai had to step cautiously.

It would not serve Mr Lees concerns if she came out guns flaming. Ultimately his occurrence is part of something thats much bigger.

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