Lee Ching-yu, wife of Lee Ming-cheh, a Taiwanese rights activist and NGO worker jailed by the Chinese Communist Party for subversion, recently traveled to the United States to seek support for her husband's case after she was banned from visiting him in Hunan's Chishan Prison. Lee, who attended President Donald Trump's State of the Union address and met with members of Congress and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), also spoke to journalists about her trip, and had a message for Taiwan about China's rights record:
I was sitting just seven or eight people away from the First Lady. I heard that this is the first time that a Taiwanese person has been accorded such an honor. What power do I have? I'm just an ordinary Taiwanese woman, and I have no connections [to anyone in power]. But sitting there listening to President Trump's address, I had this feeling that it wasn't just me sitting there. It was someone from Taiwan who was refusing to give in to China, or to anyone who seeks to destroy the spirit of human rights.
I would like to extend particular thanks to the Chinese government for choosing Lee Ming-cheh and myself as examples of its human rights violations, and showing the people of Taiwan and the rest of the world the sort of rights violations they could expect under 'one country, two systems,' if Taiwan were to become just a part of China.
I would like to thank the Chinese government for its wisdom, from the bottom of my heart. You really have taught the people of Taiwan a lesson: that it is far better to be masters in our own small country than the servants of a much larger one. Anything your enemies teach you is valuable.
I never try to imagine what the Chinese government is thinking. All I care about is their attitude to Lee Ming-cheh. Taiwan is a place of freedom during this time of crisis, and we should stand firm, and not be terrorized.
The time has come. We must work together to let the Chinese government know that, when it violates the human rights of a single individual, it violates the rights of the whole of humanity. Freedom doesn't come cheap. I will continue to fight ... and I will never, ever stop.
Reported by Hwang Chun-mei for RFA's Mandarin Service, and by Chung Kuang-cheng, Ma Lap-hak and Fok Leung-kiu for the Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.