12 May 2022

Family of Taiwan man trapped in China call for him to be allowed home

Last month, we called on Beijing to lift an exit ban on Morrison Lee, a Taiwanese businessman, and let him leave for Taiwan. Now, Lee’s family members have made a public call urging for his release. Safeguard Defenders translated and edited the statement for clarity. Original Chinese version can be read here.

Statement from Morrison Lee’s Family

To whom it may concern:

Our cousin Morrison has been unable to leave Mainland China for nearly three years, accused of harming national security. Recently, the release of Mr. Lee Ming-che and his return to Taiwan has drawn media attention to Morrison’s case again. In addition to congratulating Mr. Lee Ming-che for regaining his freedom, we would like to thank the groups and individuals who have spoken up for Morrison.

Morrison's imprisonment and exit ban have caused him and his relatives great harm. Mother's Day has just passed, and this is the third Mother's Day that Morrison couldn't be home with his mother. In the past three years, three elders of our extended family have passed away. He could not return to Taiwan to mourn them, causing him lifelong regret and pain.

We still don't know the real reason why Morrison was arrested, jailed and subjected to an exit ban. We don’t understand why Mr. Lee Ming-che and Morrison, who were both sentenced to two years deprivation of political rights, ended up with totally different outcomes. Why was Mr Lee Ming-che allowed to return, yet Morrison is still forced to live under surveillance in Mainland China?

We also don't understand why taking photos from the upper floors of a hotel could constitute the crime of spying on state secrets. Searching online with the keywords "Armed Police Assembly in Shenzhen Bay (深圳灣武警集結)" returns many images and videos, with many published by both Chinese official media and international media. These are broadly the same as those taken by Morrison. Some have said his case was political, and we think this may be true too.

Morrison is a tech worker, who has never made any political speech. In his spare time, he was also dedicated to charities for the disabled and taking care of stray animals. He also participated in cross-strait business exchange activities several times, working in Mainland China for more than a year. He frequently visited China for business and vacation. He was not involved in politics and did not hold any ideology.

Morrison's case shows the Chinese government’s misunderstanding of and hostility towards the diversity of civil society in Taiwan and the free world. His case may cause people to imagine that anyone could be detained arbitrarily in China, and it may cause panic among businesspeople from Taiwan and elsewhere.

As the world's second largest-economy, Mainland China should adopt a non-hostile and inclusive attitude towards the international community instead of threatening Taiwanese and foreign entrepreneurs and creating an atmosphere of terror.

We sincerely hope that the Mainland Chinese authorities lift Morrison's restrictions immediately, and allow him to freely return to Taiwan and reunite with his family. Even if he was detained for political reasons, we believe that [he has served his sentence] and so there is no further need for him to remain in Mainland China. We hope that the relevant authorities in Mainland China listen to the voices of their Taiwanese compatriots and let Morrison restart his new life. Many thanks!

Cousins of Morrison, Lee Shu-Feng & Lee Meng-Xiu, speaking on behalf of his family members