Prison over instant messaging plot

Lee Ming-che, from Taiwan, was sentenced to five years in prison for "subverting state power" by the Yueyang Intermediate People's Court in Hunan Province yesterday.
Prison over instant messaging plot

Lee Ming-che, from Taiwan, was sentenced to five years in prison for “subverting state power” by the Yueyang Intermediate People’s Court in central China’s Hunan Province yesterday.

Peng Yuhua, a Chinese mainland resident, was sentenced to seven years on the same charge.

The two men were both deprived of their political rights for two years. They said they would not appeal.

Prosecutors accused Peng of recruiting dozens of people, including Lee, to establish an organization aimed at subverting state power and overturning the country’s political system, using instant messaging services.

Peng started spreading ideas on subverting state power, and recruiting group members on instant messaging platform QQ in May 2012, the court said. Lee joined the group in September the same year.

In November that year, Peng drafted a plan with the goal of founding a political party and overthrowing China’s current political system.

They aimed to attract a million members by this year.

From 2013, Lee and others set up several QQ groups, with membership reaching 2,000. Peng and Lee wrote articles and books, and made videos online attacking the country’s political system.

Lee also traveled to other cities on the mainland several times to take part in group gatherings. 

On March 19, 2017, he was put under coercive measures by the Hunan provincial security agency on suspicion of subverting state power.

In September, a spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said that the investigation and trial of Lee had been conducted in accordance with the law and due process and the rights of Lee and his family had been fully protected.

A total of 30 people, including the defendants’ relatives, legislators, political advisers, journalists and members of the public, attended the sentencing.

Videos of the sentencing were published on the court’s Weibo account. The court allowed the defendants to meet with their families after sentences. 

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