Tue, Sep 06, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Pro-democracy dissidents to file for residency, visa

BY SHIH HSIU-CHUAN  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chen Rongli (陳榮利) and Yan Peng (燕鵬), the Chinese dissidents who smuggled themselves into the country last year to seek political asylum, are planning to file applications to stay in the country, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights said yesterday.

While Chen will apply for permanent residence, Yan, preferring to seek political asylum in a third country to accommodate his family who still live in China, will apply for a "long-stay visa."

Their applications will be sent to the Ministry of the Interior and then be reviewed by a special committee, the association said.

Chen, 35, fled on a fishing boat to Kinmen on Jan. 31 and Yan, 40, paid a fishing boat captain to bring him to Kinmen on June 2.

They were then transferred by Kinmen police to a detention center for Chinese nationals in Ilan.

After the government confirmed that both men had been persecuted in China after taking part in pro-democracy activities, they were released. Authorities then contacted third countries who might accept them.

The Mainland Affairs Council investigation said Yan took part in the democracy movement in 1989 and was sentenced to a one-year jail term in 2002.

Chen was arrested in 1995 on charges of organizing and leading "anti-revolutionary groups" and was sentenced to eight years in jail in 1996, the council said.

Chen and Yan have been living in Taipei and receive assistance from churches and civic groups. The council also gives both men NT$5,000 a month.

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