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September 25, 2017

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Li may have been arrested for violating NGO law: NSB

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The National Security Bureau on Monday said that mainland Chinese authorities had likely detained Taiwanese activist Li Ming-che (李明哲) for violating foreign NGO Management Law.

Li (who is often referred to as 'Lee' by other media outlets) has been missing for almost a month. Since he went missing in mid-March, his wife, Li Ching-yu (李淨瑜) and non-government organizations have repeatedly called on Beijing for an explanation of the grounds upon which he was detained, an acknowledgement of his location and his release.

Chinese authorities have said that Li was arrested on suspicion of endangering state security. Li Ching-yu attempted to travel to Beijing on her own on April 10, but was barred from doing so as Chinese authorities invalidated her travel documents, namely her Taibaozheng.

China's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) continued to maintain last week that Chinese authorities detained Li upon suspicion of endangering national security, but went further in accusing some groups in Taiwan of intentionally leveraging the case to "attack China" and worsen cross-strait relations.

According to the bureau's understanding, Chinese authorities detained Li due to violation of a foreign NGO management law that came into effect this year, bureau Deputy Director General Chou Mei-wu (周美伍) said during a legislature interpellation session.

In the past two or three years, China had arrested people from a variety of countries, including the U.S., Canada, Australia and Hong Kong, Chou said, as he explained the bureau's understanding of the detainment.

Many of those arrested and detained were held for over a year, he added.

He also stressed that he believed Li's detainment was not a "reckless move" made to satisfy some form of arrest quota by the Chinese national security agencies, responding Li Ching-yu's suggestion last week.

Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Lai Jui-lung (賴瑞隆) had been asking Chou whether the bureau had knowledge of Li's status on the mainland.

While Chou confirmed that to be the case and that he had relayed the information to related agencies, he said it was not appropriate to release such information to the public.

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