Sat, Jan 26, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Chinese dissident arrives in US: group

CASE BY CASE:Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong said that Taiwan’s jurisdiction must be balanced with human rights when assessing asylum applications

Staff writer, with CNA

Chinese dissident Huang Yan waves before entering a security checkpoint at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Thursday evening.

Photo: CNA

Chinese dissident Huang Yan (黃燕), who has been granted refugee status by the UN, has arrived in Los Angeles after departing Taiwan on Thursday, a human rights group said yesterday.

Huang boarded a flight to Los Angeles late on Thursday after receiving assistance from the Taiwanese and US governments, Taiwan Association for China Human Rights secretary-general Chiu Ling-yao (邱齡瑤) said.

The human rights activist was scheduled to be met by Bob Fu (傅希秋), a Chinese-American pastor and founder of China Aid, which provides legal aid to Christians in China, Chiu said.

“It is truly not easy” for the US government to accept Huang, but thanks to the efforts of the Taiwanese government, she has been able to continue her journey to the US, Chiu added.

Huang, a native of Foshan, a prefecture-level city in China’s Guangdong Province, was a member of an advocacy group launched by Chinese human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng (高智晟). Over the past few years, she has been detained on several occasions due to her involvement in campaigns demanding freedom for lawyers arrested in China, including Gao.

In late 2016, Huang visited Hong Kong before heading to Thailand for cancer treatment. She then lived in self-imposed exile in Thailand and Indonesia.

On May 29 last year, Huang arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on a flight from Jakarta to Beijing via Taipei. Taking advantage of the layover at the airport, she applied for refugee protection with the assistance of association president Yang Hsien-hung (楊憲宏).

Huang was allowed to enter Taiwan the following day after authorities granted her temporary protection, based on a determination that she could face persecution if forced to return to China.

Separately yesterday, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) said that decisions on whether to grant asylum status to Chinese dissidents seeking protection in Taiwan are made based on a balanced consideration of the nation’s jurisdiction over such applications and the need to protect their human rights.

Chen was commenting on the cases of Yan Kefen (顏克芬) and Liu Xinglian (劉興聯), two Chinese nationals who have spent nearly four months in a restricted transit area at the airport.

Yan and Liu arrived on Sept. 27 last year on a flight from Thailand for transit to Beijing and did not get on the subsequent flight scheduled later that day, instead filing for asylum status using refugee certificates issued by the UN.

“Seeking political asylum in this manner is illegal, but we understand their appeals from the standpoint of human rights,” Chen said.

On Thursday, council spokesman Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) said that the government was mulling a plan to allow Yan and Liu to enter the nation under a cross-strait exchange program for professionals.

However, he yesterday backtracked, saying that it was just “a possible option” that was still being deliberated.

One possibility is for Yan and Liu to be granted entry into Taiwan to await resettlement in a third nation, Chiu said, adding that the council has been in talks with various agencies in Taiwan and abroad regarding their possible resettlement.

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