Mainland law dictates sentence of Lee Ming-che

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/11/28 19:48:39

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

The Intermediate People's Court of Yueyang City, Hunan Province, has sentenced Taiwan rights advocate Lee Ming-che and co-defendant Peng Yuhua to five and seven years' imprisonment respectively, as well as depriving them of their political rights for two years for the crime of subverting State power. Peng and Lee did not appeal the court's verdict.

Since Lee comes from Taiwan, the case has been tracked closely by the Taiwan media. The sentencing on Tuesday was open and transparent, with some 30 people present at the hearing, including close relatives of the defendants and media reporters. The declaration of the sentencing was also broadcast live by microblog.

Lee was arrested in March this year as he traveled from Macao to the Chinese mainland. It was at this time that mainland authorities made the case public. Following this, Taiwan authorities and some media outlets contrived two plots to discredit the mainland judicial system. One was to bring up the human rights aspect, and the other was to claim that Lee's arrest is just another way for the mainland to put pressure on Taiwan.

Before the final sentence was announced on Tuesday, there was still much speculation about the case in Taiwan. From their perspective, whether Lee will be sentenced severely or lightly is a signal that the mainland sends to Taiwan.

This speculation is hollow and reflects the distorted mentality of the Taiwan authorities, which are influenced by the strained cross-Straits relationship. All the mainland was doing in this case was undertaking a trial concerned with the subversion of State power according to the law, and it just so happened that one of the defendants was a Taiwan resident. The fact that the defendant comes from Taiwan does not change the trial and the legal basis of the sentencing.

Lee's five-year sentence may be a shock to those in Taiwan following the case. Some people who are intent on stirring up conflict between Taiwan and the mainland and compare the two political systems do not think that Lee is guilty. Now they must have realized the legal risks.

Regrettably, Taiwan authorities issued a statement immediately after the sentencing, declaring that: "Spreading ideas of democracy is not a crime" and that they "cannot accept" that the mainland court sentenced Lee, who "shares the concept of democracy and freedom" with the charge of "subverting the State."

Obviously, the Tsai Ing-wen administration in Taiwan is continuing to engage in sensationalist politics. In doing so, their act appears to simply be a way to encourage Taiwan people to engage in illegal activities on the mainland, regardless of the legal implications.

Many people in Taiwan think it is reasonable for the court to sentence Lee according to mainland law. They understand that there are differences between the laws on both sides.

What the Tsai administration lacks is not intelligence but a responsible attitude toward the well-being of its people. The vision by the Tsai administration fails to see the bigger picture, focusing solely on their own political interests.

The spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council has clarified Lee's case many times. The mainland is a society under the rule of law. Those in the mainland must obey local laws and public social order. Those in violation of the law will be punished. We hope that in the future, Taiwan people will not be misguided by the Tsai authorities.

The article is a commentary of the Chinese edition of the Global Times Wednesday.
Newspaper headline: Mainland law dictates Lee Ming-che sentence

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