Charges of subversion send two to prison
A court in Hunan province has sentenced Taiwan resident Lee Ming-che to five years in prison for inciting subversion of State power.
Lee, 42, was prosecuted alongside Chinese mainland resident Peng Yuhua, 38, who received a sentence of seven years for the same offense.
Both have been deprived of their political rights for two years, under a ruling by the Yueyang Intermediate People’s Court.
The pair had formed an illegal organization with the goal of overthrowing the Chinese government and its political system, seriously threatening national security and social stability, the court said.
Lee and Peng told the court they would not appeal the verdict.
In May 2012, Peng set up a chat group called Liang’an Lianshou or Join Hands Across the Straits using the QQ instant messaging tool, and used it to attack the Chinese mainland’s social system, the court said.
Four months later, Lee joined the group at Peng’s invitation and later became a core member, it said.
That year, Peng renamed the group Weiguan Zhongguo or Watch China and after comparing notes with Lee, drafted a document stating the ultimate goal of the group was to establish a new political party, overthrow the current political system and recruit over a million party members by the end of 2017, the court said.
Since 2013, the pair had set up multiple chat groups on QQ and membership had reached 2,000.
They uploaded materials, books and videos, most of which attacked the Chinese political system and incited subversion, the court said. The pair also sensationalized prominent social issues and decided on discussion topics for group members, it said.
The court also said that Lee had made several visits to cities on the Chinese mainland to hold meetings with group members and disseminate ideas slandering the government and its political system. He also incited subversion via QQ, Facebook, WeChat and other social networks and advocated the use of violence if necessary, the court said.
On March 19, Lee was placed in detention by the Hunan provincial security organ on suspicion of subverting State power.
The court said the pair’s acts had seriously threatened national security and social stability and amounted to subversion.
The court also said it granted leniency to both defendants on the grounds that they made honest confessions after arrest and pleaded guilty during the trial.
About 30 people, including legislators, political advisers, journalists and the defendants’ families attended Tuesday’s proceedings.
Footage of the verdict being read in court was released by the court via Sina Weibo.
Lee Ming-che (left) and Peng Yuhua are sentenced by the Yueyang Intermediate People’s Court on Tuesday.