A Chinese student in Taiwan who last month spoke out against Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) yesterday applied with the National Immigration Agency for long-term residence, saying that he is seeking political asylum.
Li Jiabao (李家寶), 21, said that his visa would expire on July 2 and he does not know whether his application would be accepted, as Taiwan has no asylum or refugee laws or mechanisms in place.
He added that he hopes to stay and finish his studies.
Photo: Wan Yu-chen, Taipei Times
“I am planning to stay in Taiwan for a long time, no matter how difficult life gets here,” he said.
He added that he “will definitely be subject to criminal charges of state subversion” if he returns to China.
Li, from Shandong Province, is enrolled in a short-term program at Chia Nan University of Pharmacy and Science in Tainan.
On March 13, he criticized Xi in a Twitter live stream for removing a presidential two-term limit last year.
With Xi’s move, modern politics in China has become an extension of past autocratic empires, Li said.
When asked whether he still faces financial difficulties after his access to funds from China was cut off following his comments, Li said he has received help from his friends.
Li denied the claim that he criticized Xi in the hope of being allowed to stay in Taiwan, saying that he could have applied for a US visa or sought political asylum in the US.
The Mainland Affairs Council confirmed that Li has also submitted a long-term residence application to the council.
The council said it would consult with government agencies in handling Li’s case, the council said.
Although Taiwan does not yet have a comprehensive refugee management mechanism, given that human rights are a universal value, the government would handle Li’s case properly, taking into consideration international practices, Taiwanese laws, precedents and the protection of human rights, the council said.
Additional reporting by Lu Yin-hsuan
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