Open letter to Chinese President Xi

First published in Taipei Times on April 17 2017
Dear President Xi Jinping,
The undersigned are international scholars and writers from nations around the globe. We hereby express to you our deep concern about the disappearance of Mr. Li Ming-che (李明哲) from Taiwan.
Mr. Li is a respected human rights worker, who in the past worked for the Democratic Progressive Party, and who is now a program manager at Wenshan Community College in Taipei. Mr. Li disappeared on Sunday March 19th 2017 while he entered China from Macau. It wasn’t until March 29th that PRC authorities stated in a routine press conference that Mr. Li had been detained under circumstances that remain unexplained. This failure to notify the family within 24 hours violated both Mr. Li’s human rights and the Cross-Strait Joint Crime-Fighting and Judicial Mutual Assistance Agreement (海峽兩岸共同打擊犯罪及司法互助協議).
We are particularly concerned by the fact that the Taiwan Affairs Office announced on March 29th 2017 that Li was being investigated on suspicion of “involvement in activities that threaten national security.” We find this allegation to be at severe odds with the fact that Mr. Li is a human rights worker who attempted to enhance communication between people in Taiwan and China.
We are also disturbed by the fact that on April 10th 2017, the Chinese authorities prevented Mr. Li’s wife, Li Ching-yu (李凈瑜), from boarding a flight to Beijing by cancelling her “Taiwan compatriot travel document.” This action also disregarded the human rights of this young couple and raises substantial doubts about the intentions of the Chinese authorities.
As is becoming clear, Mr. Li’s arrest and detention is detrimental to the mutual trust that is very much needed between Taiwan and China. We therefore urge you to assist in the speedy release of Mr. Li and his safe return to Taiwan. Any lengthy detention or legal procedure will damage China’s image, not only in Taiwan, but in countries around the world that uphold due process of law and human rights.
Respectfully yours,
1. Clive Ansley, Lawyer, Vancouver, BC, Canada
2. Joseph A. Bosco, Georgetown University (ret), Washington DC
3. Richard C. Bush, The Brookings Institution, Washington DC
4. Coen Blaauw, Formosan Association for Public Affairs, Washington DC
5. Jie Chen, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
6. Wen-yen Chen, University of the District of Columbia, Washington DC
7. Louisa Chiang, independent researcher, Washington DC
8. Michael Danielsen, Taiwan Corner, Copenhagen, Denmark
9. Evan Dawley, Goucher College, Towson MD
10. June Dreyer, University of Miami, Coral Gables FL
11. Feng Chongyi, University of Technology Sydney, Australia
12. Carl Ford, National Park University, Park AR
13. Brock Freeman, American Citizens for Taiwan, Seattle WA
14. Edward Friedman, University of Wisconsin, Madison WI
15. Mark Harrison, University of Tasmania, Australia
16. Michael R. Hoare, SOAS, University of London, UK
17. Thomas G. Hughes, former chief of staff senator Claiborne Pell, Washington DC
18. Victoria Hui, University of Norte Dame, IN
19. Michael A. Hunzeker, George Mason University, Fairfax VA
20. Saša Istenič, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia 21. J. Bruce Jacobs, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
22. Paul Jobin, University of Paris Diderot, France
23. Richard C. Kagan, Hamline University (ret), St. Paul MN
24. Michael Y.M. Kau, Brown University (ret), Providence RI
25. Han-jung Ko, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant MI
26. Raymond Kuo, Fordham University, Bronx NY
27. Lut Lams, Catholic University Leuven, Brussels, Belgium
28. Perry Link, University of California, Riverside CA
29. Ben Read, University of California, Santa Cruz CA
30. Shawna Yang Ryan, University of Hawaii, Manoa HI
31. Michael Scanlon, Shih Chien University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
32. David Schak, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia
33. Jonathan Schwartz, State University of New York, New Paltz NY
34. Scott Simon, University of Ottawa, Canada
35. Michael Stainton, Taiwanese Human Rights Association, Toronto, Canada
36. William A. Stanton, National Tsinghua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan
37. Peter Tague, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington DC
38. Kharis A. Templeman, Stanford University, Stanford CA 39. Ross Terrill, Harvard University, Cambridge MA
40. John J. Tkacik, International Assessment and Strategy Center, Alexandria VA
41. Arthur Waldron, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia PA 42. Gerrit van der Wees, George Mason University, Fairfax VA
43. Jack F. Williams, Michigan State University (ret), East Lansing MI
44. Yenna Wu, University of California, Riverside CA