Chinese dissident Zhang Xiangzhong (張向忠) yesterday left Taiwan voluntarily after the government rejected his request for political asylum, the Mainland Affairs Council said.
Accompanied by immigration agents, Zhang met with members of the tour group who came with him to Taiwan last week and left with them, the council said.
Zhang did not meet the requirements for “special long-term residency” status, the council said in a statement.
“Special long-term residency” status is usually granted to Chinese dissidents in the absence of provisions for political asylum in the Act Governing the Residency or Permanent Residency of the People of the Mainland Area in Taiwan through Family (大陸地區人民在臺灣地區依親居留長期居留或定居許可辦法).
The government can grant special residency status to a Chinese citizen for political reasons under specific conditions, such as when the applicant is a prominent democracy advocate with verifiable contributions and is in immediate danger of persecution.
Zhang arrived on Wednesday last week for an eight-day visit. He went missing the following day.
Immigration agents found him in New Taipei City’s Sindian District (新店) on Monday.
Zhang told Radio Free Asia that he had been jailed for three years for participating in a campaign against corruption.
A statement released by the council on Tuesday quoted a Chinese court ruling as saying that Zhang was jailed for credit-card fraud and released in July last year.
The National Immigration Agency said that after questioning Zhang and taking his statement, it held a meeting with other government agencies to evaluate his case.
Upon learning of the government’s decision not to grant him asylum, Zhang said he respected the decision and agreed to abide by the terms of the cross-strait tourism agreements.
The agency quoted him as saying that returning to China was the best course of action under the circumstances.
Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) said Taiwan is a democratic nation where there are rules governing the entry and departure of people from other parts of the world.
“I believe the decision was made in accordance with our nation’s laws,” Huang said.