Taiwan democracy activist pleads guilty in Chinese trial

A protester raises a picture of Taiwanese activist Lee Ming-che during a demonstration outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong on Monday. The photo reads: "Release Lee Ming-che immediately." (AP Photo)

YUEYANG, China -- A Taiwanese pro-democracy activist pleaded guilty Monday to subverting state power in China's first criminal prosecution of a nonprofit worker since Beijing passed a law tightening controls over foreign non-governmental organisations.

Lee Ming-che's supporters, though, quickly said he had been forced to confess to crimes he hadn't committed.

Lee told the court in the central Chinese city of Yueyang that he had “spread articles that maliciously attacked the Communist Party of China, China's existing system and China's government.” He said he had also organized people and wrote articles “intended to subvert the state's power.”

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