Taiwan would handle the issue of Hong Kong residents arriving in the nation to seek political asylum “appropriately based on humanitarian considerations,” President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said.
Tsai, who is on a state visit to Taiwan’s Caribbean allies, made the remark when asked about a report by Radio Free Asia on Thursday that about 10 Hong Kong protesters have arrived in Taiwan to seek political asylum since the storming of the Hong Kong Legislative Council building on July 1 following a series of demonstrations against a bill that would allow people to be extradited to China.
The individuals have been given shelter by non-governmental organizations, the report said.
A Taiwanese lawyer who helps Hong Kong residents come to Taiwan told the broadcaster that they have encountered technical difficulties when seeking to extend their stay in the nation.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Apple Daily, citing unidentified sources, yesterday reported that about 30 protesters have already arrived in Taiwan to seek asylum, while as many as 30 others — and possibly more — are planning to try soon.
The Mainland Affairs Council would not confirm whether there are people from Hong Kong seeking political asylum, saying only that it has seen an increase in the number of Hong Kongers inquiring about residency in Taiwan.
The council on Thursday said that if Taiwan receives applications from Hong Kong residents for political asylum, government agencies would handle each case in accordance with the law based on the principle of protecting human rights.
The government deals with visits or residency of Hong Kong citizens in accordance with the Act Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau (香港澳門關係條例), the council said, adding that it would provide assistance to Hong Kong citizens whose safety and freedom are threatened due to political factors.
The National Immigration Agency yesterday said it has not received any applications for political asylum from Hong Kongers.
The Taiwan Association for Human Rights would not comment on the issue.
“We cannot divulge any information regarding any individual case,” association secretary-general Chiu Ee-ling (邱伊翎) said. “If there are individuals who approach us for help, we’ll interview these people and help them get in touch with government officials if that is what they wish.”
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