The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said it would offer assistance to a Chinese human rights activist seeking political asylum who has been allowed into Taiwan for a three-month stay.
The Mainland Affairs Council late on Wednesday confirmed a report by online newspaper Hong Kong Free Press, which said that Huang Yan (黃燕), who has been granted refugee status by the UN, arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 8:40pm on Tuesday from Jakarta.
Huang has been subject to detentions, house arrest and brutality at the hands of state agents due to her involvement in campaigns demanding freedom for activists and lawyers detained in China, the newspaper said.
Photo courtesy of Taiwan Association for China Human Rights
Due to Taiwan’s lack of a refugee law, Huang had to remain at the airport and was facing deportation to China, where she faces persecution, until authorities decided to grant her temporary protection, the newspaper said.
Council spokesman Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) confirmed the report, saying that the government approved Huang’s stay due to considerations that she could face persecution if returned to China.
The National Immigration Agency’s joint review committee examined her case and, taking into account her UN status as a refugee and the danger she could face in China, granted her a three-month stay, Chiu said.
Once the temporary stay period concludes, Huang would have to resettle in another nation, he added.
Asked to comment on Taiwan Association for China Human Rights chairman Yang Hsien-hung’s (楊憲宏) suggestion that the government report Huang’s location to the UN, ministry spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) told a morning news conference that Huang’s entry into Taiwan is a matter overseen by the agency, while the council is responsible for affairs related to Chinese citizens.
“That said, should [Huang] require the assistance of the ministry or our overseas representative offices in the future, we will provide it accordingly,” Lee said, adding that the ministry has yet to receive such a request.
The case came amid tension across the Taiwan Strait that has continued to rise following Beijing’s continued efforts to poach Taiwan’s diplomatic allies and limit the nation’s international presence.
Burkina Faso on Thursday last week became the fourth nation since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office in May 2016 to sever ties with Taiwan — likely due to financial incentives from China — after Sao Tome and Principe in December 2016, Panama in June last year and the Dominican Republic last month.
China has also blocked Taiwan from receiving an invitation to the World Health Assembly for two consecutive years.
As a countermeasure, the council announced that it would tighten its screening of applications by Chinese officials to visit Taiwan.
Additional reporting by staff writer
TAIPEI REACTIONS: Joanne Ou decried China’s ‘gangster diplomacy,’ while MOFA said its Fiji counterpart dealt fairly with the incident and protected the trade office’s rights The world should denounce the actions of Chinese embassy staffers in Fiji against a Taiwanese diplomat during a National Day celebration in Suva, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday as it thanked the Fijian government for its help after the Oct. 8 incident. Two Chinese diplomats tried to force their way into a celebration held by the Taipei Trade Office in Fiji at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva on Oct. 8, and a Taiwanese diplomat who tried to stop them taking photographs suffered a head injury. MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) told a news briefing that the ministry
The US, Japan and Australia conducted trilateral naval exercises in the South China Sea on Monday, the US Seventh Fleet announced yesterday. It was their fifth joint operations this year in the fleet’s area of operations, it said in a statement. The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain joined the JS Kirisame of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Arunta. The Arunta’s commanding officer, Commander Troy Duggan, said that Australia was continuing to build on its already close relationship with Japan and the US. “This activity is a valuable and important opportunity for all three nations,”
ONGOING PROBE: A former Military Intelligence Bureau colonel, major general and another colonel, as well as five other people, have been questioned by prosecutors The Taipei District Court yesterday ordered that a retired colonel from the Military Intelligence Bureau (MIB) calling himself Taiwan’s “first special agent” be detained and held incommunicado as part of an ongoing investigation into espionage allegations targeting at least three former bureau officials. The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office was seeking to detain former MIB colonel Chang Chao-jan (張超然) over his alleged involvement in introducing retired agents to Chinese national security authorities and passing confidential documents to China. Chang’s actions, if proven, would contravene the National Security Act (國家安全法), which carries a prison term of three to 10 years, and the National Intelligence
Seabed waste off the west coast is 1.5 times higher than the global average, with the mouth of the Tamsui River (淡水河) nearly 90 times dirtier, the environmental consultancy IndigoWaters (澄洋環境顧問) said yesterday. The firm in September last year began collaborating with local oceanographers on Taiwan’s first survey of seabed waste off the west coast, collecting 6,000 samples from near the mouths of eight rivers and conducting 215 inspections. Of the samples, 83.3 percent were found to contain trash, the group said. Based on the survey, every square kilometer of seabed had about 121,074 pieces of trash weighing 102kg, IndigoWaters chief executive Yen