From our correspondent
Taipei (Taiwan) Li Mingzhi, 47, is One of the symbols of Taiwan’s struggle for freedom: political activist, and former member of the Democratic Progressive Party (“DPP”, like President Tsai Ing-wen), just a few months ago he finished five years of harsh imprisonment in China, where he was arrested in 2017 and then convicted of “incitement to subvert state power.” His case was sensational, sparking international liberation campaigns and further aggravating relations between Taiwan and the People’s Republic. Ming Chi is free today, lives in his native Taipei and is among the few who can personally vouch for not only how widespread Chinese controllers are; But also how the system of detention the Communist Party maintains for political dissidents works from within. It was here that Corriere met him. Sandals on his feet, black jacket, Ming-who first showed us on his smartphone a video of the speech in a room Georgia Meloni, a decision in which the Prime Minister strongly defends the decision to supply weapons to Ukraine. It has been translated into Chinese. «It spread here (as it also happened in Kiev, Mr. Dr) – Tell us -. I do not share what your prime minister thinks homosexuals, but her words impressed us. We feel tied to Ukraine’s fate: Russia and China have a common pact against the free world.”
Why was she arrested?
I have helped political prisoners with financial donations. They arrested me one day when I entered China on a personal trip: they blindfolded me, put me in the car and took me to an unknown location ».
Do you have any idea how they are spying on you?
The Chinese authorities gained access to my computer through the WeChat messaging system. They had my conversations. I learned about it during the trial.”
WeChat is a Chinese software, like TikTok. Are some Western institutions right to ban its use?
“I have no evidence that TikTok was designed to spy on foreigners, but Chinese law requires all social media to be compelled to provide information for reasons of national security.”
Let’s go back to the trial: they extracted a confession from her.
Before I was sentenced to forced labour, they kept me for two months under home surveillance in an undisclosed location, without being able to speak to anyone. It’s a way to mentally destroy yourself. The trial was public, an unprecedented case. For political criminals in China, this never happens. It was because I’m Taiwanese and because my wife launched a big mobilization campaign.”
What was the treatment?
“They put me in a cell of 20 square meters with sixteen people mixed with common criminals. Thirteen hours a day of forced labor and only two interviews with the family in 5 years, always supervised. The agents were polite, they took pity on me. They thought: how does he think Is he defying China?
What jobs did he do?
«Manufacture of gloves or shoes. Which is then shipped to Canada or the USA. The American company places the order with the Chinese factory, and the latter sends it to prisons. I don’t know how much the United States knows. But I had a political prisoner with me: now he’s suing an American company.
For political prisoners in addition to jobs, what is expected?
They call education in thought and politics. At first it was thirty minutes a day, then it became two hours. Most of them revolve around Mao’s thought and ideology. Then we talk about how the West takes advantage of China and criticizes it a lot. Even if there is an exception and it concerns Italy ».
that by saying?
“Political prisoners are told explicitly that your country is the least to be criticized, because it signed the Belt and Road Initiative, that is, the trade agreements of the New Silk Road (which the yellow and green government signed in 2019. It is highly criticized by the Americans, Mr. Dr). They talk about it as a success. In doing so, they say, China helps weaker countries that, because of democracy, have to face chaos and poverty.
Did you read in prison?
“What they let me. I read Animal Farm and 1984, before they were banned, in 2022. I searched the books. I have a long list of censored texts.
Duraidah, Camus, Al-Amiri. And all Primo Levi. Here I have a list of those who did not let me pass.’
At this point, Lee Ming-who checks his email and sends us the official document with the list of censored books: there are 9 books by Levi, including “The Truce” and “Drilled and Saved”)
Then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, during her disputed visit to Taipei last August, wanted to meet with her. What did he tell her?
The world should help Taiwan expose China’s lies. They argue that democracy does not suit the Chinese, but this is not true. Taiwan is an example of this.
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“China is becoming more aggressive and ready to confront it. Sooner or later someone is going to get hurt.”
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