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A Taiwanese activist who was jailed for five years in China detailed his experience to reporters at Taiwan’s parliament Tuesday.
The man, Lee Ming-che, was “kidnapped” by Chinese authorities during a visit to the country in 2017. He was sentenced to five years in prison on “subversion” charges and was released to Taiwan earlier this year, Reuters reported. Lee is a longtime human rights activist in Taiwan.
“When I entered into Guangdong I was immediately detained by the national security department on the crime of committing incitement to subvert state power,” he told reporters of his experience in 2017. “They put a black cloth over my face and put me in a car.”
Lee said he was arrested for hosting online discussions about Taiwanese democracy while in China, using the Chinese messaging app WeChat, according to the Guardian.
“Authorities would isolate the families and the political prisoners – it is a necessity of a dictator to isolate them so they feel lonely,” he continued. “I was transferring the knowledge of how Taiwan can become more democratic, and gave the Chinese human rights workers a knowledge weapon to use with authorities.”
Lee said he was subjected to forced labor in a “sweat shop,” working 11-12 hours per day making gloves and shoes while not being allowed to speak with most other inmates.
He stated that he was not beaten, whipped or otherwise physically tortured in the prison, however.
“I feel I can breathe in the fresh air of freedom, and I’m happy to be reunited with family again,” Lee said, sitting next to his wife, Ching-yu.